Monthly Archives: May 2010

One Million Arrows

I’ve been reading a book this week that I wanted to share with you.  Julie Ferwerda has just released One Million Arrows, and was kind enough to ship a copy over to me from the US so that I could join with other Christian parenting bloggers in celebrating the launch and reviewing the book.  I know this book won’t interest all of my readers, but some of you will want to download the first free chapter for sure.

Will the world change our children…or will our children change the world? Time is short and lives are at stake. Right now, God is inviting our families to become part of a bigger story—a vision that will engage hearts to make a radical difference. One Million Arrows is an inspirational call to raise our kids to impact their culture, community, and world for Christ. If we want our kids to discover their purpose, if we want them to live with passion for the Kingdom, if we want our family to go down in His-Story, accept the mission…and leave a mark for eternity.

This is a book about opening our eyes big – being aware of the world we live in, the injustice that is rife in third world countries, the sheer number of orphans. It’s a book about parenting big – intentionally raising our kids to be more than just good people, shaping our “arrows” to do things for God’s Kingdom.  It’s about thinking big, and loving big, and believing big.  Big is good, but big is always challenging.

Using heaps of inspiring examples of families and young people who are currently being used by God in mighty ways, author Julie Ferwerda offers three stages of raising kingdom-minded kids (arrows): gather, sharpen, and launch. Gather up the children—your own, others in your circle of influence and, if possible, broken children who need a family. Sharpen them in the Word, raising them as disciples of Jesus.  Launch them into the world, ready to use their God-given gifts, talents, and resources in order to make a difference for the Kingdom.

If you want to be challenged and inspired, get your hands on a copy of One Million Arrows.  As far as I can see it isn’t available in Australian Christian bookshops yet, but you can grab a copy at Amazon. (I love that Julie is putting her money where her mouth is by giving ALL profits from the book to international orphan care and ministry.)

For more info check out http://onemillionarrows.com

Thanks for sending me a copy Julie!

Parenting Australia Wrapup – May

If you’re interested in what I’ve been sharing over at Parenting Australia, here is a wrap up of my posts for May.  I think my favourite post for the month is Sick Kids and Sleepless Nights.  That article reminds me not to judge other mums, and helps me to remember that everything is a matter of perspective.

Supporting New Mums – Having been through pregnancy and birth twice, I’ve been on the receiving end of some wonderful gifts and thoughtful offers of help. I almost wish I could go back to my pre-baby days and do things differently for my friends who had children before me! Until you’ve been through the experience it’s hard to know what to do and how to help. So here are my suggestions for supporting pregnant friends, or those who have recently given birth… click here to read more

Staying Sane With A Reflux Bub – Both of my children suffered with reflux to varying degrees. My daughter was a back arching, screaming little chucker. I spent weeks pacing the floor with her in my arms, her little head thrown back while I sang every nursery rhyme I knew in an attempt to calm her, or drown out the screaming, or both. Unfortunately having one child with reflux doesn’t mean you will be exempt the next time around!  click here to read more

Sick Kids and Sleepless Nights – I’ve only had a few hours sleep and I’m so tired I can barely see the screen this morning.  I don’t have a newborn, and I didn’t stay up too late last night.  It’s just that the kids are sick.  It’s nothing major – just one of those winter bugs that is par for the course as the cooler weather sets in.  But it only takes a minor illness to upset things… click here to read more

My First Mother’s Day – As my favourite day of the year approaches, I can’t help but think back to my very first Mother’s Day four years ago… My first Mother’s Day was a complete non-event. Nobody let me down.  My hubby didn’t forget.  My daughter didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s just that she hadn’t arrived!  I was due about five days before Mother’s Day, and was looking forward to celebrating my first one with a newborn in my arms.  I really, honestly thought that I would be a Mummy by then… click here to read more

The "Right" Way To Play

We’ve been hard at work on our plans for the back yard, and I promise to share progress on the dry creek bed soon.  We’ve carted so many rocks up our steep slope that in the process we managed to break our wheelbarrow!  Fortunately friends loaned us theirs to finish transporting the rocks.  And the kids have had a wonderful time playing with them…

As adults we have often been conditioned to see things one way; the “right” way.  Kids are much more open minded!  They see objects not for what they are but for what they can be.  These might look like upside down wheelbarrows to you, but they’re actually cars, trucks, spaceships, boats… all aboard!

Do your kids opt to play with objects creatively, rather than the “right” way?

Letting Kids Know They Are Loved

I think it’s important for our children to hear that we love them, every day.  Yep, EVERY day.  Even on the hard days.  Our kids don’t earn our love through good behaviour.  As parents we give it unconditionally, even when we don’t like our children’s choices or actions or even their attitude.  Every child deserves to be loved.

We are all different though, and we all receive and give love in different ways.  If you have read The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) you are probably aware of the five main ways people show love to each other:

  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • receiving gifts
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

At ages 4 and 1 my kids are still pretty young, so I’m still not sure what their love languages will be (though I am beginning to see with my daughter).  I therefore try to show them love in all five ways to make sure they get the message!  Here is one way I have been reminding my daughter that she is loved, even when she is at kindy and I am at home:

I often put a little note into her lunch box, but writing the note actually ON the banana is way more fun.  The best bit is that the note is invisible when I pack the banana, and only appears during the day.  To send your child a banana-gram just write directly onto the skin with a bamboo skewer.  The pressure will bruise the skin slightly but not damage the fruit.  As the bruise darkens during the day the message appears!  I always show my girl her lunchbox when it is packed so she knows what to expect later in the day – but the message is a surprise.

If you have a young child who responds to words of affirmation, or receiving gifts, try sending them a secret message in their lunch box.  It’s a great way to let them know they are loved.

How do you show love creatively to your kids?

With Joy

MUM-MY!  He’s throwing sand with joy!”  My daughter was not impressed with her little brother.  And while I’m not a fan of kids throwing sand, I couldn’t help but laugh.  Her choice of words was just so… so… funny, and so accurate.  He wasn’t throwing sand with any malice.  He wasn’t trying to hurt his sister, or get it in her eyes, or annoy her in any way.  He was simply delighting in tossing it into the air and watching it land.

Her phrase stuck with me for days.  With joy.  I consider myself a joyful person, but I wonder how much of life I truly do with joy…?  Do I write with joy?  Do I clean with joy?  Do I cook with joy?  Do I parent with joy?  Maybe sometimes, but not always.

I don’t think that joy = happiness.  I don’t have to be over the moon about housework necessarily, but I can still approach it with a joyful spirit.  Sometimes I’ll admit my attitude needs a readjustment.  This week, I got one from my kids.

“Be joyful always.”  (1 Thess 5:16)

Four For Sure

I can’t believe I’ve blogged about my daughter’s second birthday, and her third, and now she’s FOUR!  She’s grown up so much in the last year.  When I wrote about her on her third birthday she was such a mix of little and big.  Now she’s so independent.  Four for sure.  She gets herself ready for kindy, packs her bag and kisses me goodbye with barely a “See ya’ Mum!”  I’m glad I’m still home full time for her though.  It’s lovely to be the one to drop her off and pick her up from kindy (even if  have to drag her away most days because it’s the awesome-est place in the world).

We celebrated with family this year, and her choice was a bbq at the rainforest – with a ladybug cake.  That’s my girl.  I love that she wanted to be outdoors, exploring.  We had a wonderful time walking through the rainforest together, especially since a certain awesome aunty gave her new gumboots to stomp around in!  (We {heart} gumboots.  Thanks Sis!)

I know I’m biased, but she’s a really special kid, and I’m so glad I get to be her Mum.

When No One Is Looking

Who are you when no one is looking?  Today the Australian community of mummy-bloggers are uniting to show you our true appearance.  We’re calling it “Bloggers Without Makeup” (as started by Jodie Ansted from Mummy-Mayhem).

I feel better about myself when I’ve had time to get ready.  Getting dressed up for me usually involves straightening my unruly hair, putting on an outfit that makes me smile, adding some accessories and light makeup.  You can pretty much guarantee that any profile pics of me on twitter or facebook are a reflection of this.

The truth is, I don’t have time to do that every day.  When no one is looking, my hair is curly.  My skin isn’t perfect.  I don’t bother with jewellery other than my wedding rings.  My clothes are creased.  Probably dirty and creased – but I’m still the same happy me.  When no one is looking, I  look like this:

I’m far from perfect, but I believe that “Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

(Psalm 139:14 The Message)

*  *  *

Who are you when no one is looking?

Waldorf Playstand – Endless Play Possibilities

A few weeks ago, in a rare moment of ebay browsing, I discovered this item.  I bid on it and bought it!

It isn’t a shoe rack or pot plant rack (LOL) it’s an old Waldorf Playstand.  New ones with soft curves in the timber and smooth finishes are quite expensive to buy, so I was delighted to score this second hand one for only $33.  It has obviously been loved by children in the past, and I can see it is about to be loved all over again.

A playstand is basically just a simple wooden structure which supports children’s open ended play.  It can be whatever they want it to be!  A puppet theatre, a shop, a house, a boat, a castle, a cave… you get the idea.  Often playstands are used in pairs, and joined by an additional arch.  Playsilks or other fabric can be used to make a roof.

(image from amazon.com)

Above is an example of two (expensive) playstands with a rainbow playsilk roof.  Below is how we’ve improvised with one stand and a tablecloth!

We’ve already used it inside as a library and on the front verandah as a shop.  I can’t wait to take it into the backyard for the kids too!  It is certainly going to grow with them.

If you’re interested in getting a playstand:

  • but don’t want a second hand one try here (Australia) or here (US) for lovely new stands.
  • but don’t have much space, these ones are collapsible!
  • but don’t want to spend a fortune try these plans for a DIY job.
  • but don’t want to spend on plans, just on tools try these free plans.
  • but don’t want to spend a cent… use a clothes horse like I have been for the last few years!

If your kids are anything like mine, they will play with their stand until they are exhausted!!

Does anyone else have a playstand?  I’d love to hear how others use them.


A Mother's Day Letter

To my beautiful kids,

It’s such a privilege to be your mum.  You are both great kids to hang out with, and I love the way we laugh together.  Your smiles brighten the darkest days!  Thank you for being patient with me as I learn how to be the mother you both need.  I don’t always get it right, but I do always try. I love you two all the way to the stars and back.

Mummy xx

My Boy:

Thank you for

wrapping your arms around me to say goodnight

reminding me that eating is awesome

teaching me to lighten up

softening my heart

xx

My Girl:

Thank you for

giving me so many beautiful pictures, stories and songs

reminding me that life is one big adventure

cooking me yummy homemade pizza

sharing my crazy loves

xx

Backyard – Sand Play

After sharing the truth about our backyard I have been motivated to start transforming it into the garden we dream it can be.  We decided to start with the digging area.

As you might remember from my last post about the yard, we didn’t really want a sandbox as such.  Instead we opted to dig out an area which was already bordered on one side by rocks, and add rocks to the other sides.  We found a triangular shaped shade cloth for under $20 from our local hardware store which is perfect for a cover, so our sandpit is roughly triangular!  Two of the corners of the shade cloth are hammered into the ground with tent pegs, and one corner is easily unlooped.  It works perfectly.

The sandpit still isn’t quite finished.  You can see edges of weed mat peeking out and it needs more plants around it, but you get the idea.  And although I’d like it to be a  little more aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t make any difference to the kids who are just LOVING sand play.

So far they have tried:

  • digging holes
  • digging tunnels
  • making roads
  • making sand castles
  • drawing with sticks in the sand
  • burying objects
  • “finding” buried objects
  • hiding their feet
  • tasting it (my son needed to try it just once!)

Do your children have a sandpit, sandbox or digging area at home?  What are their favourite things to do in the sand?  And do you get in and play with them?!

We Play… in sand!

(Come play at the Childhood101 We Play Linkup)