kids

Parenting by Faith, Not Fear

“I’m a little worried that Johnny hasn’t accepted Christ yet.” My friend crossed her legs and switched the baby to the other side. “I accepted Jesus when I was four, I think, and I know I shouldn’t worry, but I do.”

I nodded, fully understanding that concern. I came to Christ later in life. I know that the Holy Spirit, not me, will lead my children to the Lord. I know that God loves my children, has a plan for them, and desires that they become part of His everlasting family.

I trust God with my children. I really do. And yet sometimes, well, maybe I don’t.

parenting by faith

“Yes,” I say, “It’s hard not to wonder if I’m doing enough, or if I’m doing it right! I wonder sometimes if I’m talking to them about Jesus enough, or if maybe my own issues are getting in the way.”

It’s then that I have this thought: If I really trust God with my children, why do I always mentally wring my hands over whether they are/will be saved? Whether I’ve done enough? Yes, I love them and want what’s best for them. But so does God- even more so – and in HIM is the power of salvation!

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” – Psalm 37:3

Salvation is of the Lord

We know it’s true: Salvation is of the Lord. Only the Holy Spirit can change the hearts of our children. Not us. He calls us to diligently teach and train them in the ways of the Lord and to trust the results with Him.

Do we? Do you?

Fear-based parenting has no place in the life of a Christian. If we want our children’s faith to flourish, we should tend to our own, and regularly fall to our knees to pray for our kids.

Fear is NOT of the Lord

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

When God blessed us with our children and asked us to raise them for Him, fearful parenting was not on the work order.

  • Fearful parenting wrings its hands, fretting and worrying.
  • It is paralyzed by the “what-if’s” of life.
  • It is unsettled and even panicked by the idea that it cannot control choices and outcomes.
  • It makes fear-based decisions, betraying the fact that it doesn’t really trust God.
  • It reels hard with every sin and sorrow life throws its way.
  • It teeters on the edge of a works-based faith.
  • It is no faith at all.

Don’t ask me how I know fear-based parenting so well.

Author and Perfector of Our Faith

God does not want us to parent out of fear. Instead, He calls us to faith-filled parenting, by the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to look to Jesus, whom Hebrews 12 calls “the author and perfector of our faith,” to finish the work He has begun in our children.

  • Faith-filled parenting finds peace in the sovereignty of God.
  • It acknowledges the hard realities of life AND the power of God.
  • It rests in the fact that only the Holy Spirit can change hearts, watching for it with hope.
  • It is empowered and equipped by Christ to diligently teach and train, surrendering the outcome to God.
  • It lives on its knees, praying for the children’s salvation and faith.
  • It lives out a walk of true faith in Christ.

faith to flourish
Be diligent in your calling as a parent! Teach them to know and love the Lord. Run the race well. THEN rest in the knowledge that the results of your work are in God’s capable hands. Trust Him with their faith.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” – Romans 10:17

Teach it and preach it, friends, in word and in deed!

Lord, help us to parent Your children in faith, not fear. Grant us a great peace and confidence that You are working in their lives and that Your plans for them are good. Please equip and strengthen us for the work you have called us to, helping us always point our children to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

Amen.

The Orange Juice Will Keep

I found myself reflecting, recently, on the immeasurable depths of God’s love. In 2006 I penned these thoughts in my journal. With a tender heart I gained new appreciation for the beautiful love the Father has for us, His wayward children. I hope these thoughts bless you as we begin our month-long look at this precious love. 

It’s happening again.

I had just changed Ben. It had been a doozie. And with it packaged and disposed of, I just wanted to hold my little boy. I just wanted to remember back to when he was just a little wad, less than ten pounds. Back to when we would snuggle and nurse. Back to when sleep was elusive, but the midnight feeding was more precious even than rest. Back to when he lived on my breast or hip, when he totally depended on me, when I was his world.

That is no longer true. No, now he weighs twenty-five pounds and gaining. He loves to run and jump and play. He drinks from a cup, feeds himself and sleeps through the night. And I miss his dependency on me.

So as strange as it might sound, I am not too anxious for him to be out of diapers. I mean I am but I’m not. I am for the obvious reasons, but I’m not because I love talking with him in the process and hug that follows.

Just a couple of days ago, when I had finished changing him, I picked him up and turned out the light in the laundry room. I wanted to hug him, just to snuggle with him for a minute.

orange juice will keep

But he was squirming. “I want some orange juice,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied, “Lets just cuddle for a moment.” And I pulled him close.

But he wasn’t interested. He put both hands on my chest and said, “I want some orange juice!”

“In a minute, let’s just be quiet for a moment.”

Reluctantly, he put his head on my shoulder and then popped it back up. Thoughtfully he told me, “It’s in the ‘frigerator,” as if I did not know.

“I know,” I said as I slowly rocked him back and forth to the Mozart in the background. But he wasn’t falling for it. He was singularly focused on orange juice. He did not want to snuggle, didn’t appreciate my memories of his infancy, and couldn’t imagine the depth of my love for him. He just couldn’t. He didn’t even try.

Do You Get it?

As I stood there hurt by this realization, that my moment with my little boy, inhaling his scent, rubbing his head, enveloping his little body in my arms, was going to be interrupted by something as trivial as physical thirst and a desire for orange juice over a hug with me, I got it. Do you see it?

I am baby Benjamin. I want God to take care of my stinkies, but then I want to run off and play. I want Him to get me some OJ, without the hug. I want to tell Him exactly what I want and where He can find it, and I want Him to get it for me now. I don’t want to wait, not even to pause. I am not particularly interested in waiting even a little bit for Him to fulfill my request.

Snuggle? In the darkness? Couldn’t we do that later, like after He gets me the OJ? And the part about being quiet together…why? Listen to what? The dryer run? The birds sing? The train in the distance? His heart beat?

Yes, His heart beat.

Just Listen

I am convinced that far too often we know what we want, where it is and we know Who can get it for us. And we are more interested in getting it, than getting Him. We even sometimes rudely tell Him what He can do for us, as if He hasn’t already done enough. I mean after all, wasn’t the sacrifice of His Son enough? Forgiveness of sin, debt paid, mercy extended enough? But there’s so much more.

Grace.

The gift of heaven.

Forever with Him.

God's Love

His Love

And here is where we miss it. At least where I miss it. We want to put off those hugs with our heavenly Father until eternity. He wants to start now. But why wait? He wants to hold us in His arms and rock, just the two of us, He wants us to be so quiet that we can hear His heart beat as our head rests on His chest. But we put Him off, content for someday when He wants to get started today.

I had to sit Benjamin down on the island of the kitchen to retrieve his juice from the refrigerator, right where he said it was. And He was grateful- complete with a juicy ‘thank you’. But I had wanted to give Ben more than something, I had wanted to linger with him, just to be with him, unencumbered by any thing.

And so does my heavenly Father. He wants more from our relationship than to merely act as my personal cosmic genie, who grants my every wish or whim. He wants for me to be satisfied with just being with Him, resting in Him, trusting Him completely.

He wants me to be more interested in the love in His eyes than the gift in His hand.

He wants me to listen for and hear the beat of His heart and ultimately for our hearts to beat as one.

Does this all mean that He is uninterested in hearing about what I want or need? No, of course not. Just like I appreciate it when Benjamin, or any of my kids, makes me aware of their desires, God likes to hear from me too. That is the kind of relationship He wants, the kind of relationship where we are in constant communication about everything.

The Catch

But just like I don’t mind knowing or even fulfilling (as appropriate) Benjamin’s desire for some OJ, I would hope that as he grows up and matures, he would come to appreciate our relationship more than stuff. So does my heavenly Father. All too often I am asking Him for things that I should have out grown, the “stuff”, instead of requesting the character qualities first exemplified in His Son, the One to whom I am to be conformed.

Still He Loves

Right now my husband Davis needs a job. We have bills to pay like everyone else. We need health insurance. We need to be putting money away for college. And the good news is that our heavenly Father knows all of that, even before we ask. He knows. In fact He knew all of this would go down and we would be here.

That we would bring our needs to Him is not calling His attention to them, but rather submitting them to His good and perfect will.

I know that what He wants from us now is that we would linger in His arms, head on His chest, listening for His heart. He wants us to relax and not panic knowing that He knows, cares and is in control. He wants us to focus on getting to know Him more intimately, to gaze into His eyes. Just love.

The orange juice will keep….

 

We hope this devotional series is blessing you in your motherhood and your walk with the Father. Please enjoy this printable coloring page, take a few minutes to dwell on the truth that what He wants, truly and verily, is that you would simply linger in His arms and listen for His heart. Be blessed! 

Why We Should Retell Birth Stories

 

I have seven great stories about the births of my kids. I love to tell these stories, just as I love to hear my mother tell about my arrival – including how her water broke, causing the doctor to fall in the hall! And we should retell birth stories.

retell-birth-stories

 

Having seven kids wasn’t my plan- but that’s a discussion for a different day. I’m very grateful I have two sons and then three daughters and two boys at the end. It has just been a glorious ride and I’m very grateful to have each and every one. But let me tell you, every single birth story was different. Every single one of them was different!! None of them were even remotely the same. 

Charles

The first one was Charles and his was a forced delivery.  I sat, well actually I didn’t sit- and that was the problem. After birth with him I was confidant that I wasn’t doing that again because I didn’t think I’d sit on a hard surface ever again! Some of you know exactly what I mean…

Anderson

Anyway, I went on to have Anderson the next year and he was almost an emergency C section because he was so large. The thought of a c-section motivated me to practically shoot him across the room (such a visual there, right?!). 

Ann

Ann, our first daughter, had a very peaceful delivery – it snowed on the day she was born and she smiled almost immediately.

Molly

Molly was the only one, my middle child, that I went into labor with and was actually born on her due date!

Lily

With Lily I was induced- but she was also very peaceful with a beautiful gentle spirit.

Joseph

With Joseph I walked miles around the hospital floor trying to encourage him along. He took his time.

Benjamin

With Ben my delivery was pretty much textbook after a busy pregnancy. 

All of the different circumstances and details surrounding their individual birth stories, I’ll never forget.

How hard I pushed.

How long I labored.

All the people there with me- My husband and the different doctors.

I will never forget.

And your children’s birth stories are stories worth retelling.

Your kids want to hear them!

(Or their gotcha day. I’ve had several friends who had the blessing of adoption across the ocean, and they love to retell all of us back home. Every single detail of God’s clear provision, as they went across the pond or maybe just around the corner to a hospital.)

We’re blessed by the child that God had chosen for us from the dawn of creation, to be our son or daughter.

And if you haven’t retold them lately, tell them their birth story!

All the details.

How you counted their fingers and toes.

How they cried.

If they had hair.

Who you thought they looked like.

There is just something about hearing your birth (or gotcha) story recounted that makes you feel special.

Very special.

The circumstances of your birth story, your Heavenly Father knows too. And just like a new father who holds his child for the first time, He had plans for you.

His plan is to work in and through you.

He remembers that day.

The hour.

The moment.

The commitment you made to follow and trust Him.

How child-like your faith was when you said quietly in your spirit ” I surrender all this to Jesus.”

How innocent you were about the challenges you would face.

He remembers everything about that special day.

We need to recall where we came from and what He did for us when He cleaned us up.

This will help to keep us humble.

It’s important to admit how much we needed Him then.

And how much we need Him now.

I want to encourage you to tell your kids their physical birth story, but don’t stop there- talk to them about the day you were born spiritually. And if they have given their life to Christ- talk about the day they were born spiritually.

In His Grace-

Rachael Carman

 

Look. At. Me.

“Look. At. Me.”

How many times have you said that today?

We say that all the time as moms.  

Often when we say it to our kids, we’re flustered or frustrated and we say “Look at Me! Pay attention!

When I want my kids to look at me it’s because I have something REALLY important and serious I want to convey to them and I want to make sure that I have their total attention.

With no distractions. I want them to tune everything else out, and look at me.

I want them to look at me because I feel like when they’re looking at me- I’ve got their heart.

I feel like I can tell if they’re really listening when they are looking at me. But I can’t tell, If I don’t have their eyes on me.

And I want to tell you a secret… I now have four out of the house and only three at home. But a mama’s ear can tell when they’re not looking at you.

When they are distracted…

Even if they are on the phone!  I sometimes catch myself saying “Look–are you listening?” because I can’t actually tell if they are looking. But I can usually hear it.

That practice of imploring your children to really look at you and listen is something that we establish when they’re home, so that when it is the phone call or even Facetime, we still have the privilege of asking them to look at us.

But you know what?

Pay attention to Me.

Lift your eyes up.

See when I get distracted it’s because I’m not lifting my eyes to Him.

I’ve forgotten about Him, who alone, sits on the throne.

I’ve become distracted by the things of this world  that just don’t matter.

I have let my eyes and mind get distracted.

And I have to admit…

Sometimes, like you, my kids are actually looking at me when I’d really rather they were not watching.

Like sometimes when I may be scrolling through the internet for a few more moments than I need to be.

Or maybe I’m watching a television show that I don’t need to be.

Or maybe at the checkout I’m looking at all the headlines in the rag magazines by the checkout and I don’t need to be.

Or maybe I’m even in the middle of a bad habit that I hope nobody else notices.

And those are the times when unfortunately, I had my kids’ full attention.

Just like you, our Heavenly Father whispers in those moments “Honey, look at Me, Look at Me!”

The key to overcoming those distractions, the key to overcoming those terrible habits that we find ourselves in (because we’re caught up in a sinful world) is to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ.

To focus on our heavenly home and to continually be looking to Him.

Today, I bet you’ve said “Look at me”. While you were saying it to one of your little ones, did you perhaps hear God whisper to you “Look at Me”?

See when we look at Him, all of our stuff, even the things that seem so huge, pale in comparison to the sovereign King who sits on the throne.

I want to invite you to look at Him, especially when we’re so incredibly focused on our kids focusing on us- I think we can say that with more honesty when we make sure that we’re looking at Him.

I remember when we would go to Poppy’s house when we were first married and we would go over and paint the barn or bury a cat or plant a rose bush for Poppy. And on Saturday morning when we would get there I wouldn’t see Poppy reading his King James Bible, but I would see his King James Bible, open on the table as evidence, of where he’d been that morning before we even arrived.

I have a question for you…. When do you want your kids to look at you? What is it you want them to see you doing?

Reflecting on Kenya – Part 1

Reflecting on Kenya Part 1

Reflecting on Kenya – Part 1

 

I have taken a few weeks to decompress from my trip to Kenya. I’m sure you can understand the importance of exhaling upon returning from a trip half-way around the world. Your patience with this follow-up post has been appreciated.

At one of the meetings in preparation for the mission, a leader encouraged us to ‘not have any expectations.’ It was actually the first thing he said after introducing himself as the new point man for our trip. Having done a fair amount of international travel, including several mission trips, I thought it was good advice. However, I didn’t really think about it much. Besides, the only expectation I had was that I was going to have time to bond with my daughter Molly.

You see, I hadn’t signed up for the trip. I had signed up to go with Molly. I hadn’t really cared where we went, just that we went together. I had gone with my oldest daughter, Anne, to China. Now it was time to go on a mission with Molly. She had originally wanted to go to India, and we tried to find a mission trip to that country, but our efforts had failed. So we were going together to Kenya.

We signed up, turned in our paperwork, got our shots and meds, attended meetings, planned, shopped, and packed. Oh and we prayed. I prayed for the other members of the group—none of whom I knew. Mainly I prayed for my time with Molly—that God would show off to her, that we would grow closer to each other and to God. Basically I prayed that this would be a bonding time for us as we approached her senior year.

Early on Thursday, July 30 Molly and I did our final pack and prepared ourselves for the 17 hours of travel we faced. We prepared snacks, sandwiches, and activities for the long plane rides. Once in the car, still in the driveway, Davis helped us think through everything we had packed to help us make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything. Passports? Check. Medicines? Check. Journals? Check. And on down the list—it seemed we had everything.

We set out for the airport full of excitement and yes, expectations. We laughed and anticipated our time together in Kenya. Davis assured us that he would be praying for us and that he was already looking forward to our return and all the stories we would have to share. When we arrived at the airport, he prayed for us before helping us to unload our bags, saying final goodbyes, and heading back to the house to start his busy day.

Molly and I were the first to arrive at the airport. We sat and waited for the rest of the team giddy with excitement. We took pictures and posted them on Facebook: “Here we go!”  As the team members arrived, introductions were made. I was so glad for Molly and the other six students to have this experience together. More laughter and anxious tears. And more prayers.

Finally we all got into the line to check in. Apparently the reservations were made at different times as the tickets were batched. It was a little crazy at first. Although Molly and I have traveled extensively, most of the students hadn’t.  Molly and I weren’t in the same group, no problem. I checked in fine and printed out my boarding passes. Molly was having trouble with the check in and had to see an agent.

This is the part where the room started spinning: Molly was being told that she could not go to Kenya because her passport only had four months left on it. What? She had been issued a Visa for Kenya, this doesn’t make sense. One of the leaders was shaking his head, “He’s right. She needs at least 6 months on her passport.”

We spoke with an airline agent. He said that there wasn’t anything he could do. The airline had programed the ticket issuance based on the date on the passport and the country destination. There was no way to override it. Molly’s laughter fell silent, now tears were falling. She sat down in defeat with the other students who were holding their boarding passes.

The three leaders for the mission took me aside and offered a solution. Apparently there is an express passport office in Atlanta. One of the them volunteered to stay back with Molly suggesting that Davis take Molly that day or the next to Atlanta, get an express passport overnight and then the two of them would join us a couple of days later.  I pulled Molly aside and asked her what she wanted to do. With tears dripping off her chin she said, “I want to go to Kenya.”

Okay, then. With that I called Davis who was almost home. I told him the problem and the possible solution. Additionally I communicated Molly’s desire to try and make this work. He agreed to the plan and headed back to the terminal. Unfortunately, the clock hadn’t stood still for all of this. Time was marching on and the team had to get through security and to our gate so we could board the plane for the first leg of our journey.

I had only a few moments to talk with Molly, say I was looking forward to seeing her in a couple of days, before I had to let her go and wait for Davis. I couldn’t wait to see his arrival. The other team leader waited for Davis with Molly after I left.

On the other side of security, I couldn’t talk. What had just happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? With my mind racing I sat at the gate trying to make sense of it all. We boarded the first leg of the trip to Detroit. No one knew what to say and I was speechless, but hopeful.

In Detroit the remaining two leaders let me know that things weren’t looking good. Even if Davis and Molly were successful in getting her an express passport, they were having problems finding flights. The earliest ones wouldn’t get them to Nairobi until Thursday with only 3 days left in the trip. A decision had to be made and we made it. Molly would not be joining me.

After making the decision, I walked and walked in a circle around a moving sidewalk at the airport. The same questions that had accosted me in the Charlotte airport were stalking me in Detroit. What had just happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen?

But it got worse. I started being overcome with tragic thoughts, dark thoughts. Plane crashes, terrorist attacks, illness, car accidents all went through my mind, I couldn’t breathe and I started to panic. I texted Davis and told him how my mind was under attack. He prayed for me, which didn’t immediately calm me, but it did begin to.

Join me next Monday for Part 2 of Reflecting on Kenya

Rachael Carman

Early On: Nap Day

Children need rest. Moms need rest. These are facts, which are often ignored. When the need for rest is consistently denied, crankiness and grumpiness can easily creep in for both mother and child. One of the most important disciplines that our family instituted was Wednesday afternoon nap day.

Early On: Nap Day {A Vlog Series} www.HisSunflower.com by Rachael Carman

Rules for Nap Day
  1. This is a day and time that is dictated, not voted on. The day and time are clearly determined and established. The time may shift around some, but the day(s) is set in stone.
  2. Everyone chooses a place to be for the designed time period. They must gather books, drawing pads, or some other quiet activity to do. Nothing electronic is allowed; no movies or audio recordings are permitted.
  3. Everyone goes to the restroom before they lay down. Once they have laid down, they are to stay there until Mom (or some other designated person) comes and gets them up.
  4. Getting up and down throughout the ‘naptime’ is considered disobedience. They are not required to go to sleep, but they are required to rest and be quiet so that others can sleep or rest.
{http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVA0lJ_4iro}
Often I would play classical music softly in the background or allow the hum of the dishwasher to lull us while we rested. Weather permitting, taking the rest time outside is not only allowed, it is encouraged. Resting outside in God’s creation while the birds are singing or the rain is fall are especially relaxing times.
When rest time is over, get up slowly. There is no need to abruptly end it. I will usually walk around to where each of the children are resting and see how they are doing. I usually send them outside to walk around and get their blood flowing again. In general, sleeping much past 4:00 p.m. can disrupt a reasonable bedtime routine.
As the mom, I have chosen various activities for myself during rest time. I have used it to catch up on laundry or other responsibilities. I have used it as time to write a few notes or call a friend. But my favorite way to experience nap time is with a good book. For what it’s worth, I have been known to take a nap myself and wake up quite refreshed.
Through the years, I’ve found that the dishes in the sink and the laundry in the dryer are always waiting for me, and I can do them more joyfully after a mid-week nap.
Enjoy this time of rest. We need to take time to relax and be refreshed.
Rachael Carman

Early On: Nature Journals

Want to raise a great scientist?
In history some of the best scientific minds were Christian men and women. We have an opportunity to bring up a new generation of excellent scientific thinkers who will use their ingenuity based on the foundation of biblical truth.
EarlyOnNatureJ_700x500

Join me on YouTube for Early On: Nature Journals

The best scientists observe the world around them with keen eyes. They notice patterns and trends that most of us miss. They ask curious questions. They experiment to find answers and are tenacious in their pursuit of understanding.
There are many young students that possess these same qualifications. They notice details, they ask unique questions, and they like to try new ways of doing things so as to understand how things work.
I believe that if we want students to be great science students who apply and engage intellectually, who change the world as a result of their insight and understanding, who acknowledge God as Master of the universe, then we cannot wait until high school to light that fire.
Science must start at the youngest of ages when they are already naturally curious, when they are already doing their own experiments with gravity using their sippy cup, and when they are exploring the world around them with wide eyes, long before they outgrow their awe and wonder of the world around them.
From birth through elementary school we need to expose them to as much of God’s creation as possible. We need to wake them up to the beauty of the sunrise, marvel at the glory of the rose’s loveliness, and consider the miracle of a butterfly’s metamorphosis.
We need to be willing to set aside our reason and understanding and just embrace the miracle of creation. The most important part of this time is to point them to God, to say, “Look what God did.” Show and tell them how God painted the sunset, how He designed the frog, and how He made their body. All of this leads to worshiping Him who alone is Worthy!
One of the primary ways we did this when we were just starting was by creating Nature Journals. We purchased the journals from Miller Pad and Paper. They sell journals that are divided in half with the top blank and the bottom ruled. These journals were the perfect place for my kids to begin their scientific observations of the God’s wonderful creation.
As I describe in the vlog, I started with my kids dictating to me and progressed to them writing themselves. The drawings also progress as sometimes I would help them draw or they would trace something and then eventually drawing themselves.
Often these times of observation were coupled with further reading on that day’s subject, from clouds to rain, trees to squirrels, the ocean to starfish. These were the first books my kids wrote! Now they are some of my most valuable treasures.
Happy journaling!

Rachael Carman

Early On: 5 in a Row

Are you starting this journey a little unwillingly? Do you feel like you don’t know where to start? Would you like to find a simple, yet engaging curriculum that doesn’t cost very much? Are you wanting something that you can use over and over with your kids (probably even with your grandkids) that they will love?

Early On: 5 in a Row {A Vlog Series} showing you how we homeschooled in the early years. www.HisSunflower.com

Join me on YouTube for Early On: 5 in a Row

Early in our homeschooling journey, Five in a Row (FIAR) was that curriculum for our family. We used Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row volumes 1-3. It is simple, straightforward, engaging, unintimidating, and fun. It encompasses geography, social studies, language arts, science, math, art, and character all using classic children’s books.
When I started, I didn’t even know about classic children’s books. The list of books that the Lambert family assembled to write this curriculum is awesome. Each one has come to be a family favorite. My children have many memories wrapped up in the FIAR library we have accumulated.
FIAR taught me:
1.      about the value of reading time.
2.      how to draw out various subjects from the text of a book
3.      how to set up reading time in our home
4.      about the power of book characters as models to my children
5.      that I could homeschool my children
Helpful Hint: For the geography lessons I made a map board. At a home improvement store I purchased a sheet of pink insulation foam board. At my local school supply store I purchased two laminated maps, one of the United States of America and one of the world.
Using clear packing tape, I framed the insulation board with green wrapping paper and then put one map on each side. We used this “map board” and the story discs which come with the curriculum to map where each story took place. It was great fun to learn geography together this way. As we located the countries or states we would discuss the surrounding oceans, rivers, countries, mountains, and so on.
You can find out more information about Five in a Row here [link]. I know that you and your children will love Lentil, Ping, Mike Mulligan, and many other characters. You will travel to China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Jamaica, Paris, and all across the United States. You will laugh and imagine and hope and dream.
So relax, cuddle up, start reading and learning together. God has some great blessings in store for you and your children.

 

Rachael Carman

 

Early On Everyday Bible

Early On Everyday Bible {Vlog Series} with Rachael Carman of www.HisSunflower.com

Early On Everyday Bible {Vlog Series}

Join Me on YouTube for Early On: Everyday Bible

The One Year Bible Storybook by Virginia Muir  –  Tyndale Publishers
This is going to be a new vlog series, which will run for the next several Wednesdays. Since conference season is now in full swing, I thought I might take a stroll down memory lane and showcase some of the curriculum and tools we used early on.
We are in the middle of a major transition at our house. This next year will be my last with anyone in elementary! I cannot believe it! It went by so fast. As I travel around to various conferences I am meeting so many families who are just starting this wonderful journey called homeschooling. I can still remember how scary that was 18 years ago. There were so many choices. It can be really overwhelming!
So stay tuned, and I will share some things that we have loved.
I believe so strongly in starting off each day in the Word. I want to share my favorite Bible storybook for kids – The One Year Bible Storybook by Virginia Muir  –  Tyndale Publishers. This big yellow book is great! It has survived all the kids. It is dated for your convenience. The Bible stories are written in short summaries and the Bible passages are listed for easy reference. While I do believe in the power of reading directly from the Bible itself, this is a great tool to use with younger children as you progress to them reading from their own Bible.
There are no questions included and no accompanying workbook, but I do not think that is necessary at this young age. I believe it is more important that you are in the Bible together. Reading the whole Bible this way lays a foundation for study down the road. By reading these stories your children will begin to become familiar with the whole context of Scripture.
Sometimes I would allow the children to act out the story we were reading for the day. It helps to make the time in God’s word enjoyable. It should not be dry or boring. They should look forward to reading the “yellow Bible” together.
Whether you use this resource or another one, do make sure you start each homeschooling day in God’s word. There is nothing more important. It is a good example for your children as they grow up to start each day by spending time with God in His word.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6.33
 Rachael Carman

Go Hug Your Dryer – Part 2

A Page From My Journal, continued…

Be sure to begin with Part One first (if you haven’t read it yet).

The Maytag person was not due until later, and I was still waiting on the gas tech’s call, so guess what we decided to do-school! What a thought, why not get some of the 3 R’s in one day this week?! I was teaching Ms Molly but she was so highly distracted that a 30 minute math lesson had drug on for over 2 hours. During one of her lulls in thought, counting nickles, I went in to start the first load in our new washer carefully making sure that it was all towels. I figured that I could hang those around easily enough.

Go Hug Your Dryer - Part 2 A page from my journal. www.HisSunflower.com by Rachael Carman

I started the load and returned to the school room just in time for Molly to give me the calculation answer. We finished the lesson and she went to work on her worksheet page. I did some phonics with Elizabeth. The little boys played legos and the older three worked on their assignment sheets at their own pace.
When Molly finished her first page, I went to her and said, “Here is your next page, it’s a test. Do your best!” Then Ms Molly as only Ms Molly could have made the day’s foreshadowing statement-“But I don’t want to take a test today!” My response? “Well honey, I can understand that. But today is the day. Like it or not today is test day.”
Not ten seconds later I was standing in our laundry room in about 1/2-1 inch of water. My test had been served. I had not planned on this being a test day for me too. Hey, who is doing the planning here? We were suppose to be leaving for Spanish in just about 2 hours. And then there was the Maytag guy and the gas tech-who ordered the water leak?
The kids helped me to find some towels from somewhere to sop up the water in the laundry room. And then I headed to the garage, in the basement, below the washer. Yep, this was not good. There was a lot of water, standing and actually dripping from the ceiling. “Get me a phone.”
I called Sears first. In short I told them that they needed to send someone out NOW. That there had been a problem yesterday that wasn’t their fault, but this one was and that they needed to come and fix it. Then I started calling Davis, you remember him, my hubbie, at a conference in Tulsa? Well I do not know how many times I dialed his number, but finally he was in a position to pick up. And you guessed it, Sears beeped into to say they were on the way!
Davis started asking me to check several things, as he suspected what the problem was. And he was right. They had put the drainage pipe from the washed simply into a hole in the wall instead of the drainage pipe behind the washer. (Talk about a lesson in the importance of paying attention to
details!)
Davis called our insurance and the other Sears guys showed up on the porch. Charles was busy taking pictures for our records and Anderson was amusing the little boys.
The Sears guys took a look and immediately said, “Man, this is our fault! We are totally liable. This claim is on us.” He gave me the number of their manager and we both signed a simple statement of the situation. This was followed by numerous calls between me and Davis and insurance and Sears and Servepro. It was great that they were willing to take responsibility, but it didn’t instantly take care of itself. Now the work began.
Right about now the Maytag guy showed up. He arrived right after I had been put on hold with the gas company. I stayed on hold for an hour. Phil, the Maytag man was diligent and through. He really tried to fix my other dryer. But he couldn’t. He worked for 2 hours. As an ex-Marine, it was difficult for him to admit defeat. But finally he said, “I don’t think that I have ever wanted to fix someone’s dryer more than I want to fix yours, but I can’t.” He also hated to charge me. But he did.
Somewhere in the middle of my time with Phil, I finally got frustrated with the gas company and their recorded assurances of ‘being with me shortly’, so I dialed them up on my cell phone. But this time I got a person. In one ear I was on hold, in the other ear I was talking to a person. The receptionist sounded dumbfounded when I asked her about it and I didn’t have time to make the point.
She remembered me from the day before and didn’t understand why the tech hadn’t called. Oh, that’s why, the service order fell off of the desk! Let me see if I have anyone out there. I begged and pleaded, I told her my story, I mentioned the seven children and I even made a joke about clean undies. She was laughing! And guess what? 10 minutes later she called me back telling me that someone was on their way!
This has gotten longer than I had intended so I will wrap it up. Here is where things stand now. The gas tech came and the gas is capped. Sears is due here ‘first thing in the morning’ to hook up the dryer. And on Monday a GE repairman is due ‘between 3-5’. I am again dreaming of the smell of fresh laundry, the joy of folding it and the blessing of having it at all.
So what? Well, days like today make me so grateful.
I am so grateful that I was at home with my kids, that the water didn’t stand and do more damage while we were all gone.
Grateful that we were all able to pitch in like a team and do what had to be done.
I am so grateful that there were, today, in my house men willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and work to fix them.
I am grateful that there are cell phones with which I can stay in contact with my husband half a continent away.
I am grateful that there are men who today went the extra mile to help me out, off the clock, after hours.
I am grateful that I had a sense of humor and a smile through it all!
I am grateful for the smiles of my kids as we joked about the day.
And I am grateful for frozen pizza in the freezer!!!!
Thank you God for your pop quiz today. I was really surprised by it!. I will admit that I really wanted to run away from it, throw a fit about it, or at least cop an attitude about it. Thank you for being here through it! After all, it is just a washer and dryer, just a few wet walls, and some dirty clothes. Thank you for meeting each of our needs today. Thank you for your strength in weakness and weariness and wetness! And thank you that Davis is coming home tomorrow! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I love you all.
Now, go hug your dryers!!!!
Rachael Carman