Monthly Archives: December 2012

How to make an awesome peg board

peg board

I’ve been wanting to give my kids a peg board for a long time.  But I thought the pegs would need to be bolts, which seemed like terrible toys, and I wasn’t looking forward to wandering around a hardware store looking for alternatives.  Plus, the peg boards I’d seen used rubber bands, and I was pretty sure my kids would learn how to snap each other hard enough to leave welts by the end of the first day.  As it turns out, putting this together probably took less than 30 minutes, cost like $15, is totally safe, and I think I love it more than my kids.  Plus, it stores under the couch.  Awesome.

peg flowers

The peg board was hard to find with the directions from the guy at the door of the store, but the people who work in the lumber side of the store knew exactly what it was, where it was, and how to connect me with it.  Then, someone showed me these awesome wooden pegs.  They’re the 1/4″ size, and they are easy enough to slide in and out that both my little ones can put the pegs anywhere they want.  (Peg board was $6.48 and the pegs were $2-something I think)

Then I ran to JoAnn’s and got the fabric loops that we all used to make pot holders on a plastic loom.  Remember that?  We all did that weird craft, even though no one on earth has ever actually needed MORE potholders, and the weird fabric would probably have melted if used.  But they’re perfect for this because they don’t snap like rubber bands, and can’t possibly leave a welt on someone.  The box does identify them as a choking hazard though, so maybe feed your kid before hand and limit how many you let your kid shove down her throat.  Okay?  Good.  (These were about $6)
So when we get the board out, the girls spend the first 5 minutes methodically putting each peg in the perfect spot.  Then they look everywhere to be sure they haven’t missed any pegs, and eventually I show them the fabric bands.  Which are bracelets and grass and trees and flowers and playgrounds and homes and sharks and monsters.  (So far.)  Guys, my kids even like putting all this away.  This activity is THE BEST!  The tactile sensations and fine motor skills are enthralling and getting to stuff it all under the couch just makes their little days.

Getting time to sip my coffee on the couch while the kids play peacefully on the floor?  That makes MY day.  I hope this activity makes your day too.

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A Giveaway!

I’m doing a giveaway on my business page, and I thought you all might be interested since it’s a novel by a Christian author.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

A longer write up is on my (almost done) business blog: Press Pause Photography

 

Good luck!

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What do I say to them?

My Facebook newsfeed tells me that Mr. Rogers had this to say about tragedy:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

 

I don’t know if that quote is really his, but I believe the sentiment is true.  So many of my non-Christian friends are crying out today – toward Your God, as they call him.  Wanting to know why My God didn’t stop this.  Wanting to know what kind of God allows this.  There are passages that talk about the answers to those questions, but I don’t think that’s what my friends are looking for.

Unfortunately, what I want to tell them might even hurt them more.  I want to tell them that God allows this out of love.  Which sounds callous and cruel and would get me flagged off of Facebook in no time.  But what good are acts of kindness if they are not acts of free will?  God’s love for us allows us to make decisions about our actions.  God’s love in us and through us brings us to a place of loving each other.

Free will is the means which God allows this to happen.  He allows us to make choices about our actions.  It’s a hot topic, and many Christians believe there is no free will, or that it is limited, and that good only comes from God, not from the individual.  “I can do nothing but from God.”  I don’t know about that.  I believe we do make choices, and the spectrum of choices ranges from a shooting in an elementary school to risking your life protecting your students from a madman.

ABC reported that a first grade teacher barricaded her students into the bathroom.  Would her actions have meant anything if she had no choice in them?  Whether you believe God did this through her or that she did this herself, God allowed that course of action too.

When you choose to spend more time with your kids tonight than on Facebook, that act of love matters.  It means something.  When you choose to stay a little longer at bedtime, that act of love matters.  When you choose to make a special breakfast tomorrow morning, that act of love matters.  Your choices, to treasure your children, even if prompted by tragedy, matter.  They matter and they mean something because God has loved you and given you the chance to make these choices.

 

I believe there is more good in the world.  I believe more people are good, do good, and try to do good.  I believe more people think about the good, and look for the good, and assume the good.

 

In the end, Love Wins.  In the end, the greatest of all things is always Love.

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Obedience

There’s something to be said about obedience.  I’m not sure what, exactly, I’m supposed to say, but the ghost of a post has been following me around lately, poking me slightly and asking to be written.

Obedience, Biblical Obedience, Christian Discipline

There is some relationship between obedience and love and faith that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Romans 1:5, 2 Corinthians 9:13, and 2 John 1:6 all reference the way that we become obedience when we follow Christ.  A potentially causal relationship, but not exclusive.  What I’m seeing is this: As Christians, we obey the commands of God (to the best that we understand them and have courage for anyway) because we trust Him.  We have faith in Him to be asking the right things of us, so we do the things He asks.

I don’t expect my three year old to obey me blindly.  At this point I like to believe I’ve given her ample evidence to trust me, but I’m not teaching her to suspend her critical thinking skills in the presence of authority.  I want her to learn the nature of obedience – that she assesses previous behavior from someone and decides whether or not they are trustworthy and deserving of her obedience.  I want her to learn to decide what is right, whether that be compliance or defiance in any given situation, and to have the courage to do what needs to be done. Her obedience will not always be popular and her defiance will not always be without consequence.  Both require her strength.  Breaking her will for my own ease and laziness does not build her strength.  And it certainly does not build up strength in the body of Christ.

Obedience is the application of one’s will to the wishes of another.  Obedience is choosing to comply. You cannot be obedient if you have no will.  You cannot be obedient if you have no choice.  If I go to church because my livelihood depends on it, I’m not obeying God.  I’m not choosing to worship God because of my faith or my relationship with God.  I’d be choosing to go out of self-preservation, not obedience.  Which makes going to church the wrong thing.

This is one of my major qualms with spanking.  “Do it or I’ll spank you” and “Don’t do it or I’ll spank you” only teach selfishness and self preservation. They only teach our kids to look out for themselves.  They don’t teach our children the WHY behind our requests, and they don’t teach our children how to choose obedience out of faith or trust or love.

I hear people complaining that we’re a post-Christian nation, but it seems like many of us were raised to be that way.  We were raised to do what we were told lest we be hit – we never learned to do what was right because it was right.  Or to do what was right because it was asked of us by someone we trusted and loved.  Is it any wonder that teaching us to think only about ourselves taught us to be selfish?  Is it any wonder that teaching us to look at the consequences instead of the motives produced lazy people?  I’ve heard “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about the government” but I want to add this: “If you teach selfishness and laziness to your children, you don’t get to complain when they act that way as adults.”

Where has this gotten me?  If I make a request of my three year old, she will either obey or not.  If she doesn’t do what I ask, she will nearly always engage me in a discussion about the request. She’s three, so we’re working on tact and word choice, but mostly she’s kind and thoughtful and insightful.  Sometimes she needs to know why I’m asking and she needs to know why the other choices don’t work.  She thinks about what I’m asking and she thinks about the situation.  She has on occasion come up with a better solution than the one my husband or I initially suggested.  She has offered compromises that we might or might not take her up on.  She’s learning how to make decisions, and she’s learning how to see her role in the world.  (She also sometimes flat out refuses because she’s tired or hungry or attempting to establish her independence.  She’s three.  Three year olds do that sometimes.)

I have no doubt that this path is less convenient.  I have no doubt that requiring first time obedience is easier on the parent.  But it hasn’t done much for society, it hasn’t done much for women, it hasn’t done much for the individual, and it hasn’t done much for the church.  It’s not worth the cost for me.  I’ll take the hard road, because it’s the right road.

Because luckily, I was able to restore my will and reclaim it after my childhood.

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