29 January 2013

The 'Yellow Car Game'

With the Hubby being home for the last six weeks, we got alot of family quality time. So when we went for a drive over the weekend, we played our 'Yellow Car Game'. I know, I got your interest now, haven't I!? Well, this Mama is very unwilling to have her kids grow up thinking, the only entertainment comes from electronics. Sorry. So we do NOT have a DVD player in the car - we have to come up with ways to make it fun without. And fun it is! - a simple act of being together as a family.

Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of cars in black, white, blue, and gray, and then there are just a few with 'brighter' colors? Well, yellow is pretty rare, though it has become more popular these days. For the kids, it sticks out and is pretty easy to find. So we play 'find the yellow cars'.

Now of course, there are some rules to this! One yellow car, jeep, pickup truck, etc... gets you ONE point, and one point only! One yellow hummer gets fifty points. Yep, you heard it right, 50 solid points. Then you get two points for a yellow school bus on off-days only! This means, driving Monday through Friday, they don't count - you will get one point deducted from your total for each bus called out mistakenly. Now when you call the yellow transportation vehicle out, you also have to tap the ceiling of the car - otherwise, it won't count! Here is the tricky part: commercial cars (and truck trailers) do NOT count! So if you call out a yellow taxi by accident (because the front looked like a normal yellow car), and you tapped the ceiling, then you need to subtract one point. Sorry. Also, only the person who calls it out FIRST will get the point.... that's why it can get so wild!

On the first drive, we got the following results:
Daddy - 68 points
Mami - 45 points
Coqui - 39 points
Peanut - 6 points (yep, she plays, too)

Now on the way back, it was even wilder:
Coqui - 102 points (he got a hummer and a bunch of school buses!)
Daddy - 97 points
Mami - 73 points
Peanut - 2 points (she was just tired and maybe even getting sick already)

Now if you add all those numbers together, we got to see quite a few yellow vehicles on our drive. (Tip: driving down the highway with lots of dealerships helps - they all have at least one yellow car on display.)
And yes, it can get pretty loud in the car doing this, but it's so much fun! The kids love it. It makes them look outside, trains their eyes, and keeps their minds sharp. It also helps with addition and subtraction.

Try it out, see what happens to your family. We laughed so much......

27 January 2013

Taking Time

I receive a daily email with a devotional. Sometimes, it strikes me as totally relevant to my life right now, other times, I have to admit, I only glance at it and then erase it.... 
Today's writing was just a good reminder to enjoy life with less haste and more relaxation. So the following words are NOT from me, I have simply copy and pasted them from Pastor Allen from Apostle Paul Ministries in California.

"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." ( Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV )
The funny thing is that the message at church was the same one: patience and listening to God's timing not ours. It is hard to have patience. I admit that I can have all the patience in the world with the kids and most other things, but put me behind a wheel and I turn into a very pushy driver....... So I was reminded to slow down to enjoy the nice things about life, and to practice patience - simple and yet so hard to do. 

Then the pastor shared this poem - very powerful words: 

                     TAKING TIME
      Take time to think...It is the source of power.

      Take time to play...It is the secret of perpetual youth.

      Take time to read...It is the fountain of wisdom.

      Take time to pray...It is the greatest power on Earth.

      Take time to love and be loved...It is a God-given privilege.

      Take time to be friendly...It is the road to happiness.

      Take time to laugh...It is the music of the soul.

      Take time to give...It is too short a day to be selfish.

      Take time to work...It is the price of success.

      Take time to do charity...It is the key to Heaven.
                                        Author Unknown


23 January 2013

New Year, New Habits, New Promise

It has been a loooong time, I know. Many things have happened in the last three months. Traveling, moving, our church falling apart, adjustment to the baby, homeschooling, visitors, the Hubby having major surgery, recovery, lots of family time, holidays, and really..... kind of a personal crisis. Yep, my plate was not empty.....

With the new year being here (I have no idea how it crept up on me so fast), I want to go back to blogging, writing about our homeschooling experience, co-ops, field trips, and about what is going on in our lives. How God is blessings us.

Instead of making resolutions that are forgotten half-way through the year, I want to make a change that is life-changing and will last a lifetime. Amidst all this craziness, I was able to read a book and devoured it. It was hard to digest at times, but it was good and will be great once my transition has taken place. I am sure you are eager to know the title and author, but I want to start with the content. It's about healing. Personally, it seems like the entire last year has been about healing, at least for me. It's a process, a slow one; progress is interrupted by many tumbles. Not only did I need healing from the loss of being able to carry my own children - I need healing from many, many other hurts; hurts that sit much deeper. Hurts from the past that still dictate my future and I had enough! Finally, I am saying that those hurts need to stay in the past and not keep on interfering with my present or my future.I have a life to live and I am missing it..... Damn it!

Have you ever thought that you are too sensitive? Too emotional? Too easy to be hurt? Criticism doesn't sit well with you? Do you have a feeling of a black and white world with great justice and injustice? Are you getting depressed, sometimes caused by the smallest things? Do you know what dark holes are where you are trapped and you can't come out by yourself? Is it hard to make decisions for you? Does forgiveness come easy to you? What do you feel when I say anger?

Here is a picture. Imagine a big tree, like one that looks older than hundred years old. Now cut it down! (Don't be an environmentalist right now, it's just your imagination!) What do you see when the tree is cut and lays on its side? Yes, the tree's rings; it's life rings. What do they tell us? Really, they represent the tree's biography. A thin ring for a year of drought, a fat line for a prosperous year. All of those records are there - a lifetime worth of 'memories'.

As humans, we have those rings, too. They are invisible, and most people don't even think about them. They go through life, from one event to the other, with nothing but smiles. Life is grand and the future looks bright - no book needed! Awesome.
Then there are people that are more aware of those rings because they bear dark times that have impacted their life beginning with the past throughout the present, and if nothing changes, they will keep doing it in the future. It's almost like a curse. Those people seem like life is dragging on, it's a constant struggle, it's hard. Ever feel this way? Then I have news for you (and me!).

What the book "Healing for Damaged Emotions" by David A. Seamands has shown me was so eye-opening, it has to be life changing! I mean it just has to be. I learned soooo much about myself, and what needs to be done to be FREE from those rings that keep pulling me down - wow! I know what is wrong with me, too: I was wrongly programmed. From early on, we are taught how to react to circumstances on our lives. Parents can do a good job, or a rather bad one. Guess which end of the bargain I got? I DO believe that it also had something to do with the circumstances of the country I was growing up in, a communist country where we were taught not to trust anybody and lie as much as possible. Not really a great start to build healthy relationships with anybody, including parents, siblings, family, and/or friends - even worth when we talk about God, the God that sees deep into our hearts. What relationship do you want to have with your Creator?

Someone said once that "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it." So true. But what if the way I thought to react IS wrong? Now I need to learn how to turn those ninety percent into 'positive' reactions, turning things around, making the best of a situation. I have to admit, I have never done this before - I am stepping foot on unfamiliar territory here...... 

If you never dealt with this before, or have never even thought about this, it is still important to be aware of it in order not to judge someone that is different than you are. We are not fakes or hypocrites, we just have alot of scars and hurts and faulty programming that blur our behavior today. Patience and love would be great. The truth through bible readings and biblical encouragement. Understanding and support. Until the day arrives when the programming has been reset: a renewal of our minds has taken place. Victory for the glory of God.

I am currently undergoing this process. I am learning .... alot. I will post about my progress along the way. It's a promise to myself, because I WANT this badly! I invite you to learn along with me or just witness the transformation. For my part, I am excited, yet scared. So if you ever have a (devotional) word for me, please share. I will need all the encouragement that I can get.....

Step One: Face my problems squarely! Oh boy.