If you asked my children (or anyone who’s close to me) to describe me, I have no doubt their list would include:
- She loves to serve Jesus through volunteering.
- She’s clumsy.
- She LOVES to read.
Pretty accurate assessment of their mom. Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of reading and to the importance I place on reading with my children. In fact, I’ve written about how important time spent reading with your children is here. While most of you don’t doubt the importance of reading with your kids, you may be wondering where to find the time.
I hear you. Finding time for our children to read or for us to read with our children can be difficult. It seems our schedules are crammed with activities from sun-up to sun-down, but it is possible to find more time than you think to read with your kids, especially this summer. Here are a few tricks I’ve discovered to make the most of our time. Continue reading “Finding Time to Read With Your Children” →
As end of school busyness ramps up to a frenzied pace, it’s hard to imagine that the lazier, slower days of summer are just a few weeks away. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to be more intentional in my parenting, and I’m looking forward to the slower pace of summer to implement that resolution even more deliberately. I find it is sometimes so easy to get caught up in the activity of life as my children and I run from one event or task to the next that taking the time to mindfully consider the goals I want to create or the character traits that I want to cultivate in my children get lost in the shuffle of everyday living. This summer my goal is to create an environment of intentionality in my parenting that hopefully fosters a culture of education, where I continue to model for my children that learning is both a lifestyle and a lifelong endeavor.
Continue reading “Creating a Culture of Learning This Summer” →
Air raids, shoot-outs, taxi holdups- nothing seemed to faze him anymore. Was he just keeping all his tears and screams pent up inside, or was he becoming so used to horrible things happening all around him that he didn’t notice anymore?
How do you discuss the horrible things happening in our world in a meaningful way with your children when they happen to catch a glimpse of the evening news? When your little one crawls into your lap and asks what will happen to the children fleeing their homeland in Syria, what do you say? When they begin to understand that a hurricane or tornado could rip their home or their lives apart, how do you assuage their fears? For my family, we often turn to well-written books that gingerly, yet boldly, address the horrors, evils, and ills that threaten to rip the very seams of our society in an age-appropriate, hope-promoting way. Alan Gratz’s Refugee is one of those books. Continue reading “Review of Refugee” →
“He knew that a hero shouldn’t fear death, but where was the glory in dying for his country and never knowing it.”
I first came across Dean Hughes’s Soldier Boys as a student teacher when my host teacher selected it for a book club that met before school once a week. I knew as soon as I read the last page that this provocative title would be among the books I chose to teach in my own classroom. As I expected, it quickly became a class favorite with students fondly recalling the time in my class we read that World War II novel. The last time I taught the book I was expecting my now twelve-year-old daughter, so I was thrilled when she decided to read it for herself. This book opened the door to her love of historical fiction, and she has since gone on to devour every young adult novel she can find on World War II, the Holocaust, and other major historical events.
Continue reading “Soldier Boys Review” →
As the temperature rises so does our anticipation of everything summer: swimming, trips to the beach, cookouts, camp outs, catching fireflies on a clear, starry night. While reading might not top the list of summer expectations, some of my fondest summer memories include losing myself in the pages of a book. I spent summers hanging out with Scout, Lucy, Huck, and Margaret. Yes, I also enjoyed time with real, live people, but to me, the characters on the pages were as real as a neighbor, and their quandaries always provided insight into solving my own authentic dilemmas. Summer also meant swinging lazily on my grandmother’s front porch swing, book in hand, or riding my bike to my great-aunt’s house, eager to sit on her front porch and discuss our latest read. Cookies and lemonade always complemented our serious discussions on character analysis and unexpected plot twists. Often, she would throw in stories of her own, usually more entertaining than a best-seller. Summer wasn’t summer without a list of books to savor on those lazy, humid afternoons. Continue reading “Summer Reading” →
This is a book review written by my 12-year-old daughter. She joins me now in reviewing her must-reads.
She glanced at her father’s beloved features from under her eyelashes. Etched upon his features was the terrible knowledge that the world as they knew it had changed and there was no going back.
Escape from Aleppo is about a girl named Nadia who lives in the peaceful town of Aleppo, Syria. Life is normal then civil war breaks out, and many people are forced to leave. Her family desires to leave, too. When a wall collapses, Nadia’s family assumes she’s dead and flees for Turkey. But Nadia is alive. Separated from her family, she struggles to find her own way to Turkey. This book is the story of finding her family and meeting and losing a few friends along the way.
“I can’t believe it,” Khala Lina growled. “They are destroying the very heart of Haleb….erasing five thousand years of history and culture.”
My favorite character in the novel is Basel. He likes to draw like I do and he’s resourceful. He reminds Nadia of her little brother, so Nadia takes care of Basel on their journey to Turkey. Nadia discovers through Basel that she loves her family, and they inspire her will to survive.
This book opened my eyes to the struggle in Syria. I didn’t even know there was a war going on in Syria. Nadia shows us that this war is splitting families apart. I learned from Nadia how to have a good attitude and to persevere in the face of hardship.
A dizzying blur of grey passes by the window as I quickly glance at my eleven-year-old daughter, who occupies the passenger seat on our trek over Monteagle. My children and I are heading to my brother’s for my nephew’s birthday party. A has her laptop perched in her lap, and the faint but determined clicking of keys fills the silence, capturing my attention. A pauses in her typing, and I know she’s critically eyeing her screen, brow raised in contemplation as she scrutinizes her latest sentence.
“What are you working on?” I ask.
“My newest short story.” She pauses for a second then continues, “You know, Mom, I’ve been reading a lot of books, and you know what makes them good?” She doesn’t wait for my answer. “They’re full of details and descriptions. The reader can picture it all in her head. I’ve started adding detail to my stories. Listen…..It’s a stormy day. Marigold sits perched on the edge of her bed…..” Continue reading “How Getting Out of the Way Improved My Children’s Learning: The Education of a Homeschooling Mom” →
I’m often greeted with mixed responses whenever I mention one particular practice in which my husband and I participate: fasting. “Why would you choose not to eat on purpose?” “I could never do that. I get angry when I’m hungry.” “You’re crazy.” These are just among the top of hundreds of responses I receive to the topic of fasting.
Continue reading “Fast Track to Health” →
New Year’s Day is not my favorite holiday, if I’m honest. After spending a month preparing for and celebrating the coming of our Savior, we suddenly turn from reflecting on God’s great love and grace and indulging in cheesecake and dark chocolate to this day of self-reflection and self-examination, which for me, always turns into a day of self-loathing. New Year’s Day fills me with a sense of apprehension, this heightened awareness of my shortcomings and failures, a reminder of all those things left unaccomplished from the year before. It’s a day where I’m forced to call myself to the carpet and anxiously await the litany of failed expectations with which I’m certain to berate myself. Continue reading “Great Expectations” →
A friend of mine recently lost her job and now faces an uncertain economic future. I have a friend who has decided to courageously fight and overcome an obstacle that has plagued her for years. Another friend has spent weeks in a hospital at her mom’s side, rotating shifts with exhausted family members, balancing the needs of her family with the needs of her mother, not knowing each time she leaves to care for her three children, if it will be the last time she sees her mom alive. My grandmother speaks wistfully of a desire to return to her home, leaving the assisted living facility where she now resides, knowing that her longing will most likely never be fulfilled. My cousin missed her daughter’s college graduation to rush to her father’s side as he fought for his life in a hospital. Today, a dear friend, who had just comforted neighbors who lost their son to suicide, learned that her best friend lost her young daughter in a drowning. I don’t know her friend, but because the experience of motherhood is universal, I wept for her loss because no friend cries alone, no family member cries alone, no mother cries alone.
Continue reading “Hope Despite Despair” →