Connecting Toddlers and Family Worship

The Need..

Years ago, when our “big kids” were younger (about 1 and 3) we struck a period when family worship times were difficult.  Trying to get them to sit still and listen wasn’t easy.  (Sorry, we’re not one of those perfect home schooling families.  Just so you know!) We wanted to read the Bible with our children rather than Bible stories but we really didn’t want our time around God’s Word to be a disciplining time every evening.  It wasn’t easy for the children to sit and listen just to the words so my husband came up with an idea that we used for a quite a while.

The Answer..

Every night he would get out a small whiteboard and would draw images to illustrate the reading we were going through.    I say images rather than pictures as these things were not Rembrandt’s!  A stick figure or two, just to connect the children to what was going on.  Often small details were noticed because Dad drew them in.  We really enjoyed these times together reading through different parts of Scripture.

Fast forward a number of years and somewhere along the track we stopped drawing.  Our “big kids” have many years of sitting through long chapter books, family worship times, church services and other activities under their belts and no longer need that connecting help..or so I thought.  But I’d noticed recently our “little boys” (now 2 and 5) weren’t really involved in a real way in our reading and discussion.  They sat quietly most some of the time, but that was all that was required of them.  I thought back to the interest the others had had, and realised I had lowered my expectation for these two.  With his Down syndrome, Davy especially, was needing something more visual to really connect to.  So.. the other night Peter pulled out the whiteboard.

A Very Good Place to Start!

Of course, Pete chose the best reading ever to begin his drawing efforts again.  The children were riveted to Daddy as he opened the Bible to where we were up to in our readings in Genesis.  Pete opened the Bible and got a queer look on his face.  “Oh, good!” he nodded, “The covenant of circumcision!”  Needless to say, he focused on other aspects of the reading and our first drawing session went really well.  The next night Davy could remember that Abraham and Sarah had been promised a baby and his name would be Isaac.  (It helped that Isaac is a friend at church.)  Pete rubbed that evening’s pictures out before I could get a picture but here are closeups of the next night – the Lord visiting Abraham and promising again that he would have a baby by that time the next year.  Notice Sarah’s laughter and the big ears sticking out of the tent!  We love Dad’s drawing skills around here!

An interesting effect I hadn’t anticipated is that the ‘big kids’ are listening a lot more carefully now too.   I really enjoy reading other people’s ideas and experiences so I hope you’ve found it interesting to hear our experiences too.


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New Outfits for Free!

Don’t you love that feeling when you KNOW what you are wearing looks good on you?  You get complements and you kind of feel that glow.  It’s not actually a feeling I get very often as I am stylistically challenged.  I know that I shouldn’t be!  Apparently I am an X body type, according to Shari Braendel who I recently heard speak about dressing for your colours and body type.  (Thank you Amy B for sharing that with us!) An X can wear just about anything.  But that’s my problem!  I can wear horrendous, or old fashioned, or ikky colour and just not realise!

However, armed with great advice from Shari, I was eager to have a go at Amy Bayliss’ latest Homemaker’s challenge. Our challenge was:

Your Homemaker’s Challenge is to add 3 new outfits to your wardrobe BUT, you can’t spend any money. Get creative. Swap clothes with your sister, your friends, or shop your very own closet! I know you have stuff in there that you forgot about. You can even remake some clothes out of what is in your closet! It is totally up to you but you must add three new outfits to your circulation of clothes you wear regularly.

Outfit One

My first outfit was a remake.  For years I have had this LBD in my closet because everyone says, “You have to have a LBD in your closet.”  The thing is…it didn’t fit (2 sizes too big) and I didn’t like the neckline or the sleeves.  Useful huh! I had it on a pile of things to get send to the Opportunity Shop last week and kept it on a whim to see if I could do something with it.  Then Amy’s challenge came and I set to with the quick un pick.


Outfit Two

I’ve dabbled in brown before but I’ve never really embraced it so this pair of pants was at the bottom of the draw.  This shirt I haven’t really worn since my MIL gave it to me quite a long time ago.  On Shari’s advice for redheads I decided to give brown another go.  And..


OutFit Three

Okay, this is where I need your help everyone!  The shirt I quite like as it’s not quite white, more of a goldy cream tinge.  It looks quite good on its own with the pants but then I saw this vest and I thought I’d take a risk and get some opinions.  Is it a keeper or should it go out! out! out!  Belt or no belt?  After my daughter took these photos I undid it and it looked quite different just hanging.  What do you think everyone?  Time to help out a stylistically challenged friend!







(Encourage me judges!)



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Laying down our Dreams

When dreams are interrupted..

On the 16th January, 2005, Peter and I began a journey we never expected.  It’s funny isn’t it, with the number of people “out there” with disabilities, how you never expect that one of YOUR kids would ever have any.  Our dreams for our children are so often unconscious, so hard to define clearly, and yet, when they are interrupted, we suddenly realise what they were.


After two miscarriages Peter and I had spoken a lot about grief.  We knew that so much of the grief we felt for those precious wee babies was the grief of lost dreams.  We didn’t really know those little people but we had dreamed who they may be, our expectations for how life may go with them were very real. When the Lord chose to  give us only 3 short months with each of them, we grieved.

Prayers answered. . .

So, when “Pipsqueak” (as he was known in my womb) came along we prayed that God would let us know this little one.  We prayed that this little one would be healthy.  We prayed above all though, that His will may be done. We entrusted Him to God.  Our prayers were answered.  God allowed us the privilege of welcoming Davy into our home and family.  Although he did have some heart issues, he has NEVER had any effects from them or had to be treated for them.  For all intents and purposes he is a very healthy little boy.

And yet..

And yet, in spite of this, and in our own unique ways we grieved.  You see, Davy was born with Down syndrome.  That one extra little chromosome, some would say a copying “mistake”, had effected our son in ways we could only just begin to understand.  And so, again God asked us to let go of the dreams we had for a baby and accept His plans instead.

Joy, Excitement, Anticipation, Faith

This grief was mixed with joy and excitement and anticipation and faith.  That joy and excitement has not been disappointed.  The five and a half years we have had so far with Davy have had so many moments of delight and fun and celebration.  We have learned so many things and been blessed in so many ways. That faith has not been disappointed either.  God has been with us in this journey and we are so dependent on His grace to be the parents Davy needs.    And yet, that faith has also been tried and there are moments when the grief comes back.  Moments when those dreams of yesterday resurface and we realise we have to let them go again.  When other people’s children were walking and talking and Davy wasn’t.  When others spoke about empty nest syndrome and I’ve wondered if Peter and I will ever have an empty nest.  When Davy is still not potty trained at 5 1/2 and I’m really sick of all the washing!  So many moments with the grief creeps back and I am reminded to come back to the God we entrusted Davy to, even in the womb.

Drawing near to Him…

Davy is our blessing.  So are Jonathan, Hannah and Daniel and in their own special way so are the other three little ones God asked us to care for, for a much shorter time.  I am thankful for those blessings but I am also honest enough to admit that, with Davy, so far, the journey is harder.  I need to pray more that that will cause me to flee to my Lord more and more and to depend on Him and His grace. And in those moments of grief to remember the dream was my plan  but the reality is the Lord’s plan.  I know whose road I’d rather be on!

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A never ending story…

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When a 2 year old serves breakfast…

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“You live WHERE?”

Confession Time

America is a great place and Americans are great people!  I can say that with experience, I actually lived there for 12 months when I was “younger” (actually it’s nearly 30 years ago now…hmm..I really was younger!).  Yes the US of A is a great place, but I thought I just needed to confess, to front up and let you all know – I’m not American.  I’m a Kiwi.  Now for those not accustomed to that term, a Kiwi is a national of New Zealand.  (It is also the national bird of New Zealand and the kiwifruit is commonly called a kiwi overseas.)




A Land of Mystery (to most people in the world anyway!)

Now I am well aware, having lived in the US and in Japan that New Zealand doesn’t actually feature high on the familiarity ratings outside of Australasia.  I have been asked if I’ve ever met the Queen (who lives in England, a long, long way away from NZ) and if NZ is a part of Australia (very touchy question…never go there with a kiwi!).  So.. being the homeschooling Mum (Kiwi for Mom) that I am I thought it might be fun to do some blogs now and then introducing you to life in New Zealand, some of our culture, geography, home educating life, recipes and other day to day things.  You can call the kids over, read the posts, click a few links and call it geography for the day!

So now you know our national bird, one of our fruits and the slang term for a native New Zealander – are you feeling educated already!  Let me know if there is anything else you really want to know about.  In the mean time – “Haere Ra” from New Zealand.  (Maori  for goodbye to someone leaving.)


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The Journey Begins…

“There is no way I would ever get a blog”

It is the eve of an auspicious day.  Tomorrow I will share my blog link for the very first time.  (Which actually means that when anyone reads this it will be today..or yesterday..or something. )  Over the last week I have made the journey from, “There is no way I would ever get a blog” to “Tomorrow I will debut my first post.”  Wow.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Blogs.  Read them all the time.  It’s just that, I have this sneaky suspicion that anything I would like to say has already been said.  And anything that hasn’t been said yet, I’ll probably cringe about and regret for years.

Just Dabblin

However, I’ve decided to dabble.  If only to satisfy my curiosity about how to create a blog.  So far this week I have learnt a lot.  I “customised” my own header and finally figured out how to put in new categories.  I managed to put borders around my pictures and I even managed to add my own little cupcakes to my post.  There is no way I will spend this amount of time on posts in the future but it has been a good experience just experimenting this week. I have also learned that I am very nervous about the “out there” nature of blogs.  Just don’t tell anyone I know that I’m doing this, OK?

Hobby or Obsession?

My excuse for starting this blog is so that I can participate in Amy Bayliss’ Homemaker’s Challenge.  One post, once a week.  That’s it.  A hobby right?  Only one week into it and my mind was buzzing  last night about all the different things I could post about.  I started with Amy’s challenge and it progressed!  Home educating a child with Down Syndrome, Life in New Zealand, Home educating and life fullstop!  And then there is my faith,the core of who I am.  The bit that ultimately defines me as a person.  I’d like to think that that will flow through everything else.  But whether any of those things actually appear here or not is still an unknown.  I do not want this blog to interfere with my REAL life – the life where I throw fake snowballs at my children and fall over because a really big one hit me.  The life where I enjoy playing scrabble with my husband, even when he beats me.  Keep reminding me “It’s only a hobby!”

So, the journey begins.  Thanks for being a part of it with me.  🙂

Do you have an suggestions for me on how to keep blogging “in it’s place”?  I’d love for you to leave me a comment and let me know it’s possible!

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