How MY Home Schoolers Measure Up

how_my_homeschoolers_measure_upWhew! I could breathe a sigh of relief. Looking over that clever diagram of how home schoolers are measuring up, I could tell we were doing fairly well and I felt encouraged by how successful home schoolers are doing as a whole. Then, a thought occurred to me… This isn’t why I chose to home school. What matters is how my home schoolers measure up. Not to someone else, not to a diagram, and not to a standardized test. Rather, how they measure up to their own capabilities.

I can see how this diagram, and others like it, come in handy. There are people who need to see the numbers before they will believe that home schooling truly is and can be a success. Others need encouragement, seeing the evidence of their hard work. I could see myself using diagrams like this, presenting it to those who might have questions or doubt the outcome of learning at home.

I need to issue a cautionary note though, more to myself than anyone else. My advice is this: ” Self… this is not the measure of your child!” There, I said it. The minute I start spending more time focusing on whether or not we meet someone else’s standards for my family, rather than on what they need, that is when I lose my way. This isn’t a competition between them and anyone else; they are to achieve at their own pace and in their own 2-homeschooling-by-the-numbersway.

May we also point out that while the stats and information are helpful and interesting, this tool should not be used as a means to bash our public school friends over the head. Homeschooling is a calling. While we have chosen not to put our children in public school for various reasons, we understand and respect not every family has the ability to make this choice; nor the desire to do so. Let us not use this information as weapon, but a means of communicating the value in what we do.

Diagrams can be helpful and fun. However, they are not a guide for living. I will not panic if my child is a little below the “standard” and I am not going to get puffed up with pride if my child “excels”. I am going to accept my children for what they are, helping them to become the best they can be. After all, the measure of my child’s success is not going to be found on any chart. But in a life well lived.

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.”
~Galatians 6:4

Your Turn!: What do you use to help measure your children’s achievements?

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Review: Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason

“To demonstrate the veracity of Scripture, this book will address every alleged Bible contradiction that I have seen posted on the Internet. Whereas there may be a few obscure claims of contradictions that I have not seen, this list covers the most often used examples…”
~ Jason Lisle

review_keeping_faith_in_an_age_of_reasonWe’re coming to the end of another school year in a few short weeks. While half of me is wondering where in the world the time has gone, the other half is already gearing up for another fun learning adventure. As we prepare our routine and curriculum, the first area of study which occupies my attention is Bible and logic. We’ve spent this year laying a solid foundation in fallacy detecting. With the help of Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason from Jason Lisle and Master Books, it looks like our studies will just keep on getting better.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is a thorough study of over four hundred alleged Bible contradictions circling the world-wide web, and solid answers to each claim. Backed by Scripture reference, Mr. Lisle does an outstanding job of helping the reader define terms, understand common fallacies, and delve deeper into the Word of God. Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is broken down into helpful categories including: Quantitative Differences; Names, Places, and Genealogies; Timing of Events; Cause and Effect; Differences in Details; and Yes or No?. While readers are welcome to read through each section in order, the beauty of this resource is that there is no wrong way to study these claims. There is no priority of one claim over another, nor a specific order in which they must be read; readers are encouraged to prioritize each selection according to their needs and still gain a great deal of wisdom.

As I launch into planning the upcoming school year, this resource will definitely be playing a key role in our daily Bible lessons. While no age is specified for this particular resource, having giving the book a thorough read, I believe Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason will be best appreciated and beneficial to those above elementary levels of education. Our plan is to have our three girls – in high school and junior high – join me in reading through a short set of claims with open Bibles at the ready. The goal will be to methodically work through two to three ‘contradictions’ daily; spending approximately twenty to thirty minutes during our time together.

Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason is exactly what I was looking for in the next step of our learning adventure. I appreciate Mr. Lisle’s introduction to common fallacies. It’s as if this book picks right up from where we are leaving off this learning year. I like that each claim stands on its own – allowing us the freedom to move within the text at our own discretion. I love that each claim lists only Bible references; encouraging our children to not take anyone’s claims as truth, but to seek out Scripture for themselves. Keeping Faith in the Age of Reason is incredible! While, in truth, we have other resources of this nature which lay out alleged Bible contradictions, my husband and I both agree this book exceeds them all.

Building on our foundation of fallacy detecting, this fantastic resource will help my children better understand Scripture, strengthen their faith, and arm them with the answers they need. I am excited to be adding Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason to our learning routine next year, and know we will be blessed by this thorough study of God’s Word. With our most important lessons ready to go, I am now able to better focus attention on the remainder of our learning adventure. As always, this coming year is going to be amazing!

If you’d like to learn more about Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview of this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: How do logic, apologetics, and catechism play a role in your family’s learning routine?

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Helping Our Children Manage Change

helping_our_children_manage_changeEvery once in a while, our family goes through major changes. It doesn’t happen often and we try to keep changes to a minimum, but, on occasion, something needs to give. There have been times I have had to change our homeschooling methods or curriculum. We have changed our church, our homeschooling group, our set of friends, and, at one point, almost moved out-of-state!

Our kids, like most others, do not always handle change well. They become anxious, moody, fearful, sad, obstinate, or clingy when life goes out of balance. It is our responsibility to help our children overcome their fear and accept this new area of their lives. While each child needs to be comforted in their own way, there are a few tried-and-true helps for everyone:

We try to make ourselves available to them. No matter the change, I want to make sure they are with me through it all. Our children are encouraged to share input and thoughts; they know we are doing this together.

We talk about the changes we are going through. I am honest about my fears, anxiety, and excitement. This helps them to know they are not alone and we are going through this as a team.

We let them know they are free to talk about their worries. My kids need to know I am here to listen to their concerns and there is nothing they can’t tell me.

We help them prepare for what is ahead. We discuss expectations, encourage one another, and prepare as best as we able for the coming changes.

We try to keep everything else normal. I try not to overwhelm them with too many changes at once. (e.g. If we are changing curriculum, we keep everything else about our day normal.) This keeps life a little more stable and gives them less to worry about.

We try to keep a positive attitude about the situation. It helps my kids when I get excited about the change and I show them how much they have to look forward to.

We try to make sure they are keeping healthy. This may sound funny, but it is vital. Kids get anxious about change, which can make them sick. It helps if I keep my kids on a regular diet; making sure they get exercise and plenty of rest.

Change can be a good thing. For children, it can also be scary. How we handle change, and make ourselves available to our family is vital. May the Lord help us embrace whatever change He is bringing our way, giving Him all glory and honor through the transition.

If you’re struggling with last-minute changes in your routine, – Don’t you just love when that happens? – it might be the Lord asking you to be Open to Change. Or, perhaps, curriculum isn’t working according to plan and you need a complete overhaul? May THIS article encourage you to take a breath, seek the Lord in all things, and give Him glory through the madness.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Your Turn!: How does your family handle life changing situations?

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Review: “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study by Creation Illustrated

review_creationillustrated_snowunitNature Study is an important part of our learning routine. Planning nature study, however, can take time. To aid us in our homeschooling adventure, Creation Illustrated kindly offered us an “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study to review the benefits of having resources and activities already organized for us.

Creation Illustrated is dedicated to sharing Biblical truths and character building lessons through the story of creation. In publication since 1993, Creation Illustrated produces books and other related resources in addition to their quarterly magazine issues. One such resource is a collection of unit studies available for purchase. Creation Illustrated is for all ages, with unit studies specifically geared toward children grades 5-8. Our family was able to review the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study which corresponds to the Winter 2018 Issue.

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We received a digital copy of the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, along with a free digital copy of the Winter 2018 Creation Illustrated Magazine. Quickly perusing the unit study, we noticed many available areas of study included: Reading Resources, Educational Videos, Writing & Penmanship, Vocabulary & Spelling, Bible Study, and several more. Excited to get started, we made sure our learning materials were in order and our Winter 2018 Magazine issue was on hand.

As we started the “Intricacies of Snow” at the tail end of the winter season and our local mountains were being sprinkled with powder, we thought this would be a wonderful addition to our weekly nature studies. To begin our unit, I read-aloud the original article “Intricacies of Snow” from the Winter 2018 magazine. Then we began our two-week study. As we snow_modelswere using the unit as a nature study, we chose not to make use of all areas – such as math and penmanship – but did use a great deal of the unit. Videos, Bible Study, Spiritual Lessons on Snow, Snow Science and more were included in our lessons.

The unit study itself seemed to contain a great deal of writing, thus we chose to alter the until slightly and do a great deal of the work in verbal prompts and open snow_crystalconversation. This was especially helpful for my son who struggles with focusing during lessons. We found the Reading Resources and Educational Video selections quite enjoyable. However, we should note, not all video references were Biblically based and some had an evolutionist viewpoint. The kids found a misprint/misspelling while completing the Snow Word Search, but we worked it out and enjoyed the activity. Spiritual Lessons on Snow was fantastic and we gained much by our time spent on this selection. Hands-on Snow Science was fun; making snow crystals and paper snowflakes. We were even able to diagram various snow models, learning the multitude of shapes God has created and discovering more about the famous Mr. Snowflake Bentley.

fall_2017_creationillustratedIn addition to our original choice of “Intricacies of Snow”, Creation Illustrated was also kind enough to send us a complimentary copy of the “Pine Trees” Unit Study which corresponds to the Fall 2017 Issue of Creation Illustrated Magazine. While we have not yet had the opportunity to put this unit study to use, we did note “Pine Trees” seems to follow along the same lines of content and will more than likely be included in a future family nature study.

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Coming Soon: Spring 2018!

Our time with the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study was well spent. Using this learning resource made planning nature study a smooth process. We had a lot of fun learning about Mr. Snowflake Bentley and working through hands-on Snow Science. Now, on to our next nature study. Perhaps “Pine Trees”? I think so.

If you’d like to learn more about the “Intricacies of Snow” Unit Study, the current Winter 2018 Issue, or Creation Illustrated, please visit them at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Creation Illustrated has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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Your Turn!: Mr. Snowflake Bentley spent a great deal of time taking photos of snowflakes. What is your favorite subject when taking photos?

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Our March Reads

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It has been a fun month of reading, learning, and increasing in wisdom. March’s list had a few book club reads, picture books, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • The Word Collector (Peter Reynolds) ⭐⭐⭐ – Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.

Books as Learning Resources:

  • Curious Kid’s Nature Guide (Fiona Cohen) ⭐⭐⭐ – Filled with fun facts and 100 full-color, beautiful, and scientifically accurate illustrations, this nature guide will inspire kids to go outdoors and discover the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Brick Bible: The Old Testament (Brendan Powell Smith) ⭐⭐⭐ – Brendan Powell Smith has spent the last decade creating nearly 5,000 scenes from the Bible—with Legos
  • The Brick Bible: The New Testament (Brendan Powell Smith) ⭐⭐⭐- Over 1,000 “brick” photographs depicting the narrative story of the New Testament.

Books for Fun:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine ‘L Engle) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Meg’s father had been experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him.
  • The Book of Joy (Douglas Carlton Abrams) ⭐ – Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.
  • A Thousand White Women (Jim Fergus) ⭐ – The story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… The Brick Bibles were fun; it was great seeing the creativity which went into each panel. A Wrinkle in Time was a book club read and always a treat. It’s one of my favorite childhood series. The Book of Joy was another book club read of mine, and rather a disappointment. It was an interesting concept and I enjoyed hearing the exchange between the two gentlemen; however, I found the book itself to be lacking. Several references to scientific studies failed to have citation and no strong foundation was laid for the overall concept. I had hoped for more. A Thousand White Women was yet another mom book club read for the month. The historical fiction was brilliant, and wonderfully written. But, please note, this book is not meant for children. There are several references to intimacy and some language used; which is a shame as the story itself could have stood on its own two feet.

You may have noticed a few changes to our review format. It’s a work in progress, but one we hope will work better for you readers and us. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. Aren’t books so much fun?!

Your Turn!: Some words sound appealing to the ear. Do you have any favorite words?

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Conquering the Wandering Mind

Conquering_Wandering_MindsI’ve called his name four times now, hands waving before his book work. The boy is smart. He could complete this lesson in two minutes flat – if only I could divert his attention to his work. He comes back to the present only for a moment before returning to his imaginings. With each ticking of the clock, I wonder what I’m doing wrong and how I can help my child conquer this challenge.

Understandably, this situation is just as frustrating for our son as it is for me. Being the last one to finish lessons, and constantly having to hear your name is irritating. We’re doing our best to work through this struggle together and learn keys to succeed in this area. Diet, exercise, routine, and using essential oils is helping. How we homeschool has been reviewed as well. Less independent work is in order; being replaced with one-on-one lessons with a parent sitting close at hand verbally offering encouragement.

Do any of your children battle this on a daily basis? We’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this area of homeschooling!

  • Are there clear symptoms of when your child’s mind has gone wandering?
  • What helps you remain calm and help meet your child’s need when this becomes a daily/hourly concern?
  • Have you identified the cause of their distraction? How have you done this?
  • Do foods affect your child’s focus?
  • Will routine and/or exercise help focus increase?
  • Do you find this more prevalent in your sons than daughters?
  • What helps your child to better focus?
  • Are there essential oils you’re using to help your child focus?

We have by no means conquered this challenge. There are days we cruise through without any difficulty, and days when keeping eyes on the page leads to anger. Through God’s grace we’re moving forward, learning what works for his body and mind. Amidst the frustration, it helps to remember this not personal or purposeful. Our son is not being rebellious, his mind is merely occupied elsewhere. Together we’re discovering fun, meaningful ways to redirect his attention to the present and offering grace when a momentary whim takes his mind on a journey elsewhere.

There is beauty to be found in these moments, even those taken in the imagination. May we have patience to find it, wisdom to see learning opportunity everywhere, and gentleness in leading our children through daily responsibility.

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,…”
~ Ephesians 1:17-18

Your Turn!: That’s quite a list of questions we’ve asked… Don’t feel as if you need to answer every one. Pick one which resonates with you, or one in which you’ve seen growth, and share with us!

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Easter Fun Series!

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“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed [is] the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.“
~ John 12:12-15

Aside from Christmas, Easter is the most significant holiday for Christians. This is more than just an opportunity collect eggs, wear cute bunny ears, and hoard candy. Easter is amazing, redeeming grace. For our family, this is a time to put aside outside responsibilities and simply focus on the true meaning of this holy week. From this Sunday till next, we will focus on all things Easter.

It is our desire to use this week not only for encouraging our family, but to learn from yours! Join us as we focus on the true meaning of this special holiday. We hope to share some of our favorite games, activities, crafts, and recipes which all point towards Christ and His love for us.

Easter Fun: Easter Week Begins
Easter Fun: Resurrection Eggs
Easter Fun: Books
Easter Fun: Egg Decorating
Easter Fun: Resurrection Garden
Easter Fun: Resurrection Rolls

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”
~ John 11:25

Time to Chime In! : What is your family’s favorite homeschool resource for learning the true meaning of Easter?

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Review: The 10 Minute Bible Journey

10_minute_bible_journeyIf your family is anything like ours, you enjoy finding new homeschool resources which inspire further learning and build a stronger Biblical foundation in your home. We’ve recently discovered a new tool which is blessing our morning routine. The 10 Minute Bible Journey by Master Books is everything we could ask for in a Bible study, and more!

The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a fast-paced, apologetics-infused synopsis of God’s Word!

Study 52 accounts that weave the chronological, gospel-centered storyline of the most strategic and amazing events from Creation to Heaven. Filled with vibrant, full-color images, an illustrated fold-out timeline, and exciting “faith facts” that confirm the Bible is true, this book is designed to help Christians of all ages spring to a new level in their understanding of God’s Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.
~ Master Books

I had originally obtained a digital download of this resource, but immediately knew a physical copy would be desired. Within a few weeks a hardback, full-color copy arrived at our door. Not wanting to waste any time, we immediately added The 10 Minute Bible Journey to our morning routine and the adventure began.

Every weekday morning since, we have begun our day with prayer and a daily Bible Journey. Journeys contain key concepts being covered, an apologetic lesson centered on a chronologically told Bible story, primary passages for families to read, an included key verse, a prayer, and a full-color illustration. No specific age range was given for The 10 Minute Bible Journey, however we find the resource works well for all our children, ages ranging from eleven to sixteen. Our youngest is well able to understand the lessons, while even us adults are gleaning a few new facts while reading. Each day’s lesson could well be completed within the parameters of ten minutes, but our family finds the lessons are a springboard for deeper conversation. Thus, our Bible Journeys extend slightly beyond this time frame, taking anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes. And, truthfully, I couldn’t be more pleased with these results.

Included in The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a thoughtful “Creation to Forever” Timeline we’ve found very helpful while progressing through our chronological studies. In addition, a “Summary First” Bible Read-through Plan has been inserted in the back of the book. Families can follow this chronological reading plan in order to read through the Bible in one year. “Tips for Family or Small Group Studies” help make the most of this wonderful resource. And “Endnotes” – filled with additional resources, links, and thoughts on each day’s lesson – help us dig deeper into our journey.

With only fifty-two lessons one might easily complete this book within a short time frame. While our family will indeed finish our initial read-through shortly, I am looking forward to starting over from the beginning and taking each journey at a slower pace. We could easily stretch each Journey into a week’s adventure, gleaning the most out of these fantastic lessons and included resources.

Merely upon looking through The 10 Minute Bible Journey I knew the Lord would use this resource to bless our family, and I was not disappointed. Our daily journeys are being used to teach all of us important Bible lessons and help us have a deeper understanding of our Savior. Our morning routine just keeps getting better!

If you’d like to learn more about The 10 Minute Bible Journey and Master Books please visit them at their website where you can a preview of this incredible resource, and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: On average, how much time does your family spend on Bible each morning?

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Do You Feel Like a Ping-Pong Ball?

do_you_feel_like_a_pingpong_ballOur neighbors have five kids. At one point they homeschooled all five, each child having completely separate curriculum. I learned a lot from our afternoons together. One basic lesson l learned was that having five kids took a lot of work. I could bounce around like a ping-pong ball all day or find a better way to make this happen. For our family, the best method of tackling the concern of teaching four kids is to do as much as possible together, as a group. If we can learn something as a family, that is what we do.

While there are some areas of learning which require individual study, mainly grammar and arithmetic, there are just as many – if not more – we can do together. Bible, history, science, geography, economics, and logic are all areas of learning we not only do as a group, but have more fun doing so. Thus, we spend the bulk of our day learning together.

How can all four of our kids, who happen to all be two years apart in age, learn the same material when they aren’t the in same grade? Good question!

Grade, Smade – Exactly who determines what gets taught at each ‘grade level’? Why can’t a five-year-old learn biology and a fifteen year old study life science? What’s important isn’t the ‘grade’ our child is in, but that the material being covered is done thoroughly and in such a way our child understands. I would also encourage us to challenge our children in their learning. This might mean a higher level for our younger kids and a more basic for our older; each child should be taught at their level, not their ‘grade’.

Middle Ground – To help all our children follow the lessons (the littles not being overwhelmed and the older ones bored), we try to reach for the middle. By teaching to the average, the littles are slightly challenged, but not lost in the mix. This also allows for the older children to participate in the bulk of our group activities, while additional assignments and projects are given to increase their learning in this area.

What, Again? – Once you’ve been homeschooling a while, you start to notice something. History repeats itself; so does science, literature, grammar, and almost everything else. We cover certain aspects of science in first grade, right? Guess what. We covered them again in second, with a little more added. Oh, and we did it again in third, then fourth, and yet again in fifth. Perhaps we should stress less about skipping a ‘grade’ with our kids, missing out on material, and just focus on them learning the concepts we’re teaching now. Odds are, whatever we didn’t get this year is going to be covered again next, and the year after that.

What about high school? Not much has changed. There is no reason our eight year old can’t learn a little biology along with our big girl. He might not participate in all activities, but he’ll have projects of his own. Our big girl might have a few additional projects tailored just for her, but this will teach her to work independently. There is no reason the bulk of our studies can’t still be enjoyed as a group, it just takes a little imagination and dedication. In the long run, it’s still less work and more financially feasible.

Do I still have days when I feel like a ping-pong ball? Absolutely! That’s bound to happen when you have four kids, homeschool, run a business, and a household. However, we like to keep the bouncing to a minimum and do as much as we can together. It’s less work for mommy and, frankly, it’s just plain fun!

Your Turn!: I used ping-pong as an illustration of what my day can sometimes feel like. If you had to compare your day with a game, which would it be?

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Taking Care of Us…

taking_care_of_usIf you’ve ever been flying you’ll remember receiving the necessary safety speech at the beginning of the flight, “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling, ready for use.” As parents, our first instinct would be to put the mask on our children and protect them from harm. The exact opposite is true. The mask first needs to be put on you and then on your children. Why? Because airlines have embraced one important fact: We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of our kids. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our kids. We can’t help them if we’re dead.

Sadly, this fact escapes us in everyday life, doesn’t it? We tend to put our own needs – Note, I said needs and not wants. – behind everyone else’s. We eat last. We sleep less. We hardly remember to drink two cups of water a day, much less ten. We push ourselves to the limit to get things done. We overburden ourselves with ‘responsibility’, and we go until we drop. While I find it admirable, caring for others, we also need to be taking care of ourselves.

Eat – Let me be the first to admit, I don’t eat enough. And when I do, I don’t eat the right things. For years, I lived on Snickers and Coke. (And still paying the consequences.) If we aren’t feeding our bodies the right food, how can we expect our bodies to function properly? If we aren’t functioning properly, how can we be expected to care for others? Eat a healthy, balanced diet and do it regularly.

Drink – Yup; I’m bad at this, too. It wasn’t until I started making myself sick from lack of hydration that I started to take this seriously. Do yourself a favor… drink some water!

Sleep – Most of us don’t get enough of this either. If you can’t get eight solid hours during the night, consider taking short, afternoon naps. If you’re having trouble sleeping (which I do on occasion), narrow down the reasons why. Does your body need nourishment or hydration? Perhaps you need a little exercise? Which leads us to…

Exercise – You’d be amazed what just a twenty-minute walk everyday can do for your health and your mental well-being. If getting out of the house isn’t an option, find some form of activity which will get your heart pumping and your body moving. Play tag with the kids! They’ll think you’re loads of fun and you’ll get the exercise you need.

Time Out – Even if we’re doing everything else we’re supposed to, sometimes we just need a break. Affecting more our mental heath than physical (although it can start affecting our bodies), stress takes a toll. Don’t be afraid, or ashamed, to take a step back when needed. Ask for space. When you’ve had an opportunity to just breathe, you’ll find your able to function more efficiently.

Spiritual Filling – If we’re running low, it implies we need to be filled. Praying, reading the Word of God, and seeking fellowship with like-minded believers in order to be renewed and edified is key.

Conversation – I don’t know about you, but just hearing a friendly voice keeps me balanced. Sometimes we just need to talk with others who understand where we are and hear their wisdom on how to move forward. Never be ashamed to call on friends and ask to talk. Being able to express ourselves and unload the doubts praying on our minds maintains our mental health.

Seek Help – So, you’ve tried everything else and something still feels off? Call the doctor! It isn’t your imagination, it isn’t you being dramatic; there is probably a very logical reason for your feeling ‘down’. It might be hormones; it might be thyroid issues; it might be a vitamin deficiency (which is what mine was); or it could be something more serious. It’s better to have a professional weigh in on the situation and set your mind at ease. Have your family doctor do a quick check and let you know what’s really going on.

When we remember to eat, drink, sleep, and take time for ourselves, we better serve those around us. When our bodies are healthy, we are better able to minister with grace, mercy, and love. Taking care of your needs isn’t selfish, it’s essential. To take care of others, you sometimes must first take care of you.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
~ I Corinthians 6:19-20

Your Turn!: Which are you most likely to skip out on: food, sleep, or exercise?

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