Tuesday's Toolbox - This Week's Tool? - A Car! Mood:
cool Topic: Blog Carnivals!
I know, I'm breaking the rules again. I really need to watch out, or Susan isn't going to let me contribute to Tuesday's Toolbox anymore. But, a car is an object commonly found in some homes - in the garage. And, besides, my mind is on the long trip we are making tomorrow from our house in TN to my sister's house in NJ so using the car as a teaching tool seemed appropriate.
Actually, I'm going to focus more on the trip and not the car. I love to travel. Maybe not long trips as much anymore, especially with 3 boys ranging from 3-13 in the back seats of the van. My family has always enjoyed seeing new places and we have always tried to use our trips - even just the rides in the car - as a teaching tool. Here are a few hints for making travel a little more pleasurable with kids.
Maps - A few years ago I decided to buy my oldest his own pocket atlas to use while traveling. He loved it! He learned to follow the road signs and find where we were on his map. He learned directions, states, and general map reading skills. Soon my middle boy got into the act and we had to buy him one as well.
The License Plate Game - Even when I was young we used to play games in the car. Oh, not board games, although they do make travel board games now, but special travel games. One of our favorites is the license plate game. At the start of the trip, we all guess to see how many different state's license plates we will see along the way. The kids have to reason and think about how long the trip is, what season it is (is it a heavy traveling season or not) and what time of day we are traveling. We then begin to watch for license plates. Someone keeps a running total of what states have been seen. At the end, we count up the states spotted and see who came closest. A different variation is to allow each child to keep his own list and see who spotted the most. You can even provide blank maps and crayons and have them color in each state as they see it.
Hanky-Panky - No, we don't allow any funny business to go on in our car! It's a rhyming game. Someone starts by trying to think of two words that have the same amount of syllables and that rhyme. Let's say FAT and CAT. They wouldn't say the two words, but would give a clue like "a heavy set feline". Then they would say what kind of words they were - two one syllable words would be a "hank pank". Two syllable words would be a "hanky panky". Three - a "hankity pankity" etc. (don't worry it won't go much further than a hankity pankity). Whoever can guess the two words first gets to guess the next two rhyming words.
Travel Bingo - you can buy these at truck stop stores, or you can make your own. I was just introduced to a website called "Mom's Mini Van" that has a lot of printable travel games that you can print for free including Travel Bingo. Just click on the hi-lighted link above. Travel Bingo teaches you to pay attention, and it helps with visual perception. All you do is look for various objects and check off the matching picture on your bingo board. The first one to get five in a row wins. "Mom's Mini Van" has a lot of other ideas as well. Another similar site is Carschooling. It gives you a lot of ideas on learning while traveling.
Audio Books - are also excellent ideas. We have downloaded these on mp3 players, and bought/borrowed books on CD to play for the whole family. I have also read a book to the kids while traveling (obviously Sarah was driving at the time ). Allowing your kids to bring two or three books each is also helpful.
Don't forget to site-see a little along the way as well. We frequently pack picnic lunches and then stop at a visitors center to ask where a good picnicking place is. One time we picnicked at a really neat free botanical garden. They even had there own dog by the name of "Uda" (Uda Dog - get it?). You never know what adventurous historical or educational spot that you might find along the way. We will often then allow our kids to buy a small educational item from the gift shop that will keep there attention for a little while after we get back on the road. If you have time, the scenic route is also enjoyable.
Although traveling can still be somewhat of a challenge for us, we have still had a lot of memorable times on trips. A car can really be a learning tool if you prepare and use some creative thinking.
PS - Don't forget to click on the Tuesday's Toolbox banner at the top of my post to visit the Tuesday Toolbox host blog and read all of the other submissions.
Let me remind you of the question before I answer:
What are your favorite things about the holiday season and your least favorite things?
When I was younger I loved everything about the holiday season. I loved the hustle and bustle. The busyness. The festivities. The music. The whole works. As I've gotten older, I still like a number of those things, but I must be getting...well...older! I still like to shop for presents, but I don't like to do it as much. I still like the festivities, but maybe not quite as many. I still like the music, but perhaps they can begin the continuous radio renditions a little later than the day after Halloween (I'm exaggerating, but not by much).
I guess my very favorite thing about the holiday season is remembering what the real reason for Christmas is - celebrating Christ's birth. I could - and often do - get caught up in the gifts and the shopping and the glitter, but when I slow down to really think of what Christ did over 2000 years ago, it is really awe inspiring. He left his perfect home in Heaven to come to this sinful world only to go through troubles and trials and die on a cross. But he chose to be be born, die, and come back to life for our sins. So that we would have a chance to go to Heaven and spend eternity with Him. We can have that chance if we choose to believe that we are sinners and in need of a Savior. And if we believe that He died on the cross for us and accept His free gift of eternal life.
My second favorite would have to be getting together with family. I have fond memories of visits with and by family over the years. Family is special. Family traditions are special.
There is really not much that I dislike about the holiday season. Unless, of course, it's too much hustle and bustle and too many Christmas songs. I also dislike the political correctness of the season. There is much to be said about the so called separation of church and state and the inclusion of everyone during this time of year, but I will save that for another post. Suffice it to say that I think our country has gone a little overboard on some things when it comes to the real reason for the season (or the exclusion of the real reason).
It's surprising that some of the things that I love about the holidays are also some of the things that I dislike. Ah, well, isn't that the way it is with most things in life?
OK, I know that this question is predictable, but I had to ask it. Here it goes:
Do you make New Year's resolutions? If not, why not? If so, what are they?
And, don't forget the rules:
This is a man's meme, so the answers must be the answers from a man. Either the man can answer on his blog, or a wife can interview her husband for her blog. However, if the wife puts it on her blog, she must stay true to what her husband said.
You are encouraged to put one of the Men's Monday Meme buttons found to the left on your blog. Just copy the code below the button of your choice. The more folks who link, the more readers you may have to visit your blog.
You may answer the question any time during the week up through next Monday. After you answer the question, add the address to your post to the Mr.Linky below. If you could, please only add the direct link to the post to make it easier for readers to find the entry.
My answer along with a new question will be posted next Monday. The new Mr. Linky will be added at midnight Monday night.
A Dear Saint is Now With Jesus Mood:
sad Topic: Ministry
Miss Marie with Joshua and Sarah
Last night I mentioned that one of Sarah's ladies was in the hospital. Miss Marie had some problems on Christmas so went to the emergency room for xrays. While the xrays were being taken she suffered a massive heart attack. This evening the Lord took her to be with Him.
Miss Marie was a prayer warrior. We knew that if anything ever happened, we could call her night or day and she would pray over the phone with us. She would then share with another shut-in friend, Mrs. King, and they would continually pray for the situation.
She loved the mission, and she loved the people of the mission. And, she loved our kids. Each one held a special place in her heart and she was in the hearts of each one. Our Joshua especially loved Miss Marie. They had a special bond.
We are breaking Miss Marie's rules. We are sad and we have shed tears. Miss Marie didn't want that. She often said "I don't want any crying at my funeral I only want celebrating."
She was right. We don't need to cry. Miss Marie is sitting at the feet of Jesus and praising him. She has no more ailments, no more pain, no more worries.
She knew that the only way to true happiness was believing that Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and then die on the Cross. He didn't die, however, for anything that He had done. He died for the things that we have done. And, He didn't stay dead, He rose again to prove that He was God. He did this as a free gift to us and all we have to do is accept this free gift and we can know that we will have eternal life with God in Heaven forever and ever.
If you do that, then someday you will be like Miss Marie. No more ailments, no more pain, no more worries. Just celebration.
We don't need to cry, but we can pray. Not for Miss Marie, but for those left behind. For Miss King, for Joshua, and especially for Miss Marie's family. For her son and daughter and their spouses and children.
It will be hard without our prayer warrior Miss Marie. Although she wouldn't like it, there are going to be more sad days. When we told Joshua he was very upset. After consoling him, he decided to go to his room. On his way, he said, in his usual Joshua way, "If you need me I'll be in here making tears."
Joshua, there are always going to be tears, but God is looking down on you now and saying "Joshua, someday I will wipe every tear from your eyes (Rev. 7:17)."Someday you will be sitting with Miss Marie at Jesus' feet and rejoicing forever and ever.
Lord, thank you for the life of Miss Marie. Right now we know that she is in no more pain, she is rejoicing with you. But, Lord, we also know that there are many that aren't rejoicing. Some are sad because they have lost a family member. Some because they have lost a dear friend and prayer warrior. Some are sad because they don't know You. Please, Lord, wipe every tear from our eyes. Be with the family and friends that are grieving, but especially be with those who may not know you. Please help them to come to you soon so that someday they can live without pain and sorry and can rejoice forever at your feet along with Miss Marie. ~ Amen
A Day in the Life of Tim. Mood:
not sure Topic: General
I don't generally post diary or schedule type things. Perhaps I should more often. Today, however, has been such an odd, but strangely normal, day for us. Our days are always interesting. With three homeschooled boys, two with sensory issues and with parents that run a mission to low income housing folks, how could our days not be interesting? There are always phone calls and knocks on the door and arguing boys and...and...and... ! There were many things that happened today, though, that made me a little reflective about our world and life in it.
I got up early, fixed coffee, and my wife and I had our usual morning discussion in bed over a cup of hot brew. I recalled a touching story that an old highschool friend had written a few years ago. We just reconnected after 30 years on Facebook. She sent me the story and I had read it just yesterday.
Over the past year I have reconnected with literally dozens of old friends from high school or college. Julie, however, was one of those rare friends that I knew from elementary days. Our elementary school was small. Not one room, mind you, but six rooms one for each grade level (first through sixth), a cafeteria just large enough to serve the food (we ate in our classroom), a boy's restroom and a girl's restroom. That was it. The kindergarten room was in a portable outside. So, you were always with the same kids year after year. Occasionally someone would move away, or a new kid would come, but basically it was the same group. Julie was from that group. We never dated or anything like that, she was just part of a bunch whose friendship lasted off and on from grade school through high school.
Julie is now a writer. After some time away, she has moved back to the same town we grew up in, and writes for a local newspaper. She has also written a few novels, mostly local history, but, she sent me a short story that she claims is her most popular work. It had been published by a Salvation Army publication, so I don't think I can print it here, though I may ask. It was just a great little story that by the end had both my wife and I (me for the second time) in tears. Because it involved the Salvation Army and their work with the poor, it was near and dear to our hearts. Things like that always tend to set the day in a strange direction for me. I should have know that it would be a day of emotion and reflection.
Later that day, I was doing my usual computer surfing. Checking my blog stats, reading the TOS Crew forum, and checking BlogFrog. I've mentioned BlogFrog in a couple posts, but it is basically a group of bloggers that have their own forum. There are things on there where you can promote your own blogs, but there is also a discussion section where you can ask questions and basically begin chats. One particular discussion topic caught my eye and I began to read it. I wish I hadn't. The discussion had nothing to do with blogging or some fun thing, but discussed what should have been a personal family issue. Before long, there were blames hurled and people taking sides that didn't even know the parties involved. It was ridiculous. Sarah often says "Tim, don't argue with Pharisees". I know she's right, but I seldom listen. Yes, I interjected my two cents worth. I tried not to take sides, and just wanted everyone to stop and pray for the situation instead of throwing accusations. It didn't work. I just sat back, read the comments, shook my head and asked myself "what is this world coming to". Then I prayed. Prayed for the whole situation. I'm asking you to pray for it as well. You don't need to know details, just pray for an unspoken request. God knows.
Later, as we were settling down for the night, the phone rang. It was one of Sarah's ladies. Her baby, Chance, was at the emergency room and she wanted Sarah to come. While Sarah was there she found that one of her other, elderly, ladies had had a massive heart attack on Christmas day and was now in a coma. She was able to visit with the family and even go in and pray by Miss Marie's side. Miss Marie asked a few years ago if Sarah and I would speak at her funeral. I have spoken at funerals a couple of times, but that is really not my thing. Things look bleak, but Miss Marie could still recover. Please pray for her and her family. The doctors checked the baby and found that it was just something he ate. We are relieved at that, but please continue praying for Chance and his mother.
I, on the other hand, don't have any sense at all. While all of this was going on, I went and asked the boys to pray for Chance and Miss Marie. Joshua, our kind hearted asperger's child, fell to pieces. He knows both of them, and was worried sick about their health. He asked me time and again if Miss Marie or Chance was going to die. I tried to reassure him, but the damage had already been done. I shouldn't have mentioned anything until I knew some facts. He is happy that Chance it all right, but still concerned about Marie. Please pray for Joshua.
Finally, we are all in bed and I am typing on my laptop at a few minutes before midnight and thinking about the days happenings. I should be used to days like this. The comings and goings, the phone calls, the knocks on the door. It has been a reflective day - odd, but normal at the same time. Such is life.