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little-melba-and-her-big-tromboneOur understanding of history has a powerful effect on the way we see the world and especially the way we see ourselves.

Growing up my learning of African-American history was limited to slavery and civil rights movement.

I was making the same mistake with my own children. One day, my oldest son asked me: “Why have we always the weakest and the oppressed?”

Much of our history in this country is of oppression, but there is more. We are not weak, we are not victims. There are stories of amazing men and women, even DURING slavery who contributed in amazing ways to society. This year we have learned about numerous black scientist and inventors and have all been inspired!

I am excited as I plan this week. I finally order all the book son this list of 12 Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Black Heroes. Some of these were available in Kindle version, which gets delivered as a loan through your library, instantly.

I am especially looking forward to reading the children’s book on Gordon Parks:

Gordon Parks was a prolific, world-renowned photographer, writer, composer and filmmaker known for his work on projects like Shaft and The Learning Tree.Through my library, I can also borrow the movie of Gordon Parks, which will be great to watch as a family.”

Through my library I was also able to borrow the documentary on Gordon Parks’ life, which will be great to watch as a family!

Looking forward to the things we will learn as the list includes some people we have not heard of.

Share history resources YOU have used to inspire your children.

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There’s always a lot to do in our home, with activities and chores. This week we are scrambling as we get ready to host more than 20 people for Tslow-down-quote-1hanksgiving!

 

Yesterday, while I worked in the kitchen cleaning and cooking I thought about the pile of clothes on my bed that I still had to fold. As I put away the last few cups, I heard my little girl ask me “Mami, can I sit on your lap.”

She didn’t ask me to read a book or to play with her, simply to sit on my lap. It touched me because I realized that she was just asking for cuddle time and attention. I stopped and sat on the couch with her and spent a few moments listening to her sweet ramblings and tickling her chubby toes.

Our days rush by full of activities. We all have good intentions and want to be faithful to the needs of our families but it is so easy to overlook their REAL needs, I do it all the time. More than a clean kitchen and folded laundry my kids need ME. I have to be reminded often to slow down and spend time…quality time with the people that I love. The kind of time that involves REAL CONNECTION.

After the few moments with my daughter I went on to tackle the next thing on my list, and then the next. Many things DID get done yesterday, but as always not all. In the evening, while the laundry lay on my bed, STILL unfolded, I invited my girls out to the patio. The night was clear and warm…65 degrees! Very uncharacteristic in mid-November in NE Ohio.

We grabbed our pillows and blankets and looked up at the stars. It wasn’t long, but such a special time. My 5-year-old even saw a few “shooting stars”. I knew they were airplanes, but I loved listening to her as she closed her eyes and made a wish.

It’s the next morning as I write this and I STILL haven’t folded the laundry. I just finished writing in my journal a short list of amazing things that happened yesterday. The moments under the stars last night with my daughters made the top of the list. It added much more value to my family than any completed chore.

What ways have you found to best connect with YOUR children? Board games? Walks? Reading together? Would love to hear from YOU!

screenshot_20161117-073654_1Remember the goals YOU had before you had children that you’ve set aside for later or maybe even forgot about?

The busyness of motherhood and everyday life has dampened some of this passion. My obligations at home have pushed out the time to nurture and pursue my dreams and intentionally plan for my goals. 

My new morning routine has released a fire inside me that’s been there for so many years. It has transformed me in so many ways. I’ve written about it a few times. Amazing how using the early morning hour has made so much possible. Some example of these are daily journal, read books, excersice, read the entire New Testament in 8 weeks!

These are all  things I would do sporadically or just didn’t get around to it. Managing a household, homeschool, and caring for 6 kids left little time or energy for these.

Because of my morning routine now  I am even pursuing of a childhood dream; writing my first book! There’s no way I had time to take on a project like this before without sacraficing my children and husband.

The key to reaching this goal is that it is getting done a little at a time.  Every day I schedule to write 200-400 words. I only write during my morning routine when everyone else is sleeping. Though reaching this goal will take time, just working on it every day gives me a different kind of joy and purpose.

So many benefits from my morning routine. My passion is to share this with as many moms as possible because it’s something I wish someone would have told me 10 years ago! 

What would YOU do with one extra hour in a day?

Would YOU consider going to bed 1 hour early and waking up 1 hour earlier?

Read in this post what things you can get done during this hour and start YOUR journey toward self-care and maybe pursuing a dream YOU’VE set aside.

 

One of my favorite daily rituals is writing in my journal. Writing in it helps me unravel all the thoughts and feelings that would otherwise consume my mind.

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Recently I have been looking back at some old memories and have chosen to reflect on some negative ones. I’m considering my losses and the times I’ve been hurt by others. The big ones, the ones I have let mark me the most. This time, as I write about these in my journal and really take time to flesh them out and put them on paper, I am assigning a new meaning to them and intentionally using them to empower and not debilitate me:

I have decided to bring them out into the light.

As in the theme of my last post, anything we leave in the dark will have power over us. We all have bad memories, painful memories. Even if they are not prominent in our mind, they are there and affect the way we look at our daily experience and even ourselves. Each one leaves a mark, changing who we are. I want to own this a bit more. I want to determine what kind of mark these memories leave and intentionally choose the meaning they will have. So I am looking back and making that choice.

I am not letting these bad experiences define me anymore.

I am not my bad experiences or my failures. I am not even defined by the things people have done to me or said to me. Writing about these have helped me put more distance between me and my experiences. After writing about these with intention I look at them more as events that happened to me that are packed with lessons to glean from.

I can now use the lessons and the experience itself to serve others.

Every time we go through something, good or bad, we have deeper insight into things. We can understand others who are going through them now in a more real and intimate way, making us better able to love them through it. I am choosing to assign this new meaning to the negative things that have happened to me. I am more grateful for the tools it gives me to serve in a deeper way.

Writing in my journal is my favorite daily ritual. It gives me tools to have more control of my feelings today and to use my past experiences to empower my future.

Have you ever kept a journal? What benefits does it give you?

193fe76d9e4e88a67a57d5f517488ca5The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. The statistic for boys is a bit deceiving because boys many times don’t report their abuse. 

As a person who was molested as a child, I prayerfully try use my experience to empower me as a parent. 

I can’t guarantee that my children will not go through similar abuse, but I can be proactive in educating and protecting them. One of my main tools in protecting my children from sexual abuse is speaking the truth about it. I know personally the difference it makes to keep the lines of communication open.

I talk to all of my children about their bodies and let them know what parts are private and off limits. In age-appropriate ways, I tell them what it means for someone to touch you in inappropriate ways.

I also let them know that anyone can do this, even people in our family, or people that dad and mom love and respect. I do this intentionally. Most sexual molestation happens within the family or at least within one’s social circle. I don’t want my child to feel like I would be crushed if they ever told me that someone I love sexually abused them. I let them know that I am well aware that this can happen. 

Finally, I explicitly tell my kids what they may feel if they were ever a victim of sexual abuse and the lies they may be tempted to believe. They may feel guilty or that I will be disappointed in them. I tell them what the truth is now, BEFORE it happens. I tell them that there is nothing YOU can do to make someone sexually abuse you and you will have my full support and protection when you come and tell me. You must speak up!

When things are kept in the dark and in secret we give them more power over us. Making this topic a normal, natural one between my children and me gives THEM the control:

  • They are made more aware of the danger
  • Will know how to best protect themselves, and
  • Will feel more comfortable going to safe people if abuse ever happens.

Let us all have the power to speak the truth to our children about sexual abuse and empower them with knowledge and awareness!