Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sufferings and God

I have recently been broken over a friend that is going through some tough times, right now.  A godly friend, who has given wise counsel to many and a great leader in their home.  My heart went out to them.  I can say honestly that I've 'been there, done that.'  Sometimes, we all suffer hardships in life.  These sufferings and trials come in many ways-financially, with relations to others, and physically, to name just a few.  As Christians, we are told, warned, and even promised, that suffering will come in this life on earth.  To compound these hardships, is another issue that many of us suffer-how to deal with our suffering when others are not.  A lot of Christians have struggled with this.  This article is long and will take some time to read, but I do hope and pray that if you are suffering, please take the time to read it fully.  All scripture quoted is taken from the New American Standard Bible. 

"Lord, I have worked so hard to follow You and do Your Will.  I have worked hard to lead and guide my family and my children in Your ways.  Yet, I can't seem to get ahead.  I always seem to be 2 steps back.  I struggle all the time."  "Then look over there-they profess to be Christians and won't even get out of bed once a week to worship with others as you told us to, much less seek to do Your will every day-yet they never struggle financially or physically, and seem to have a wonderful life.  And then look at them-they openly mock the name of God and of Christ, and seem to have everything handed to them on a silver platter and never have a problem."  "IT"S NOT FAIR!"

My dear friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, first of all, know that you are not alone in your struggles.  Suffering and trials are not even new to our generations, nor are the questions and emotions they bring.  I'm going to the only place I know to draw encouragement from to share with you-the Word of God.  If He didn't understand and know our trials, He would not have addressed it-and more than once, at that.  So, get your favorite Bible, and read along with me as we learn to deal with these issues, together.

First, I'm drawn to look at the life of Job.  You know his story-he had everything.  God gave permission to Satan to take away everything but his life and it caused great suffering of all kinds.  Eventually, God prospered him, once again.  But, during his times of struggle, he asked a lot of questions and was given lots of bad advice.  His friends told him that his suffering was 'obviously' because of sin.  I've heard others tell those suffering that they just 'aren't praying enough' or 'don't have enough faith.'  If that is always true and the only answer-then the disciples, Paul, and other great 'heroes' of the faith should have prospered, had great health, and would never have been prosecuted and possibly even put to death for their faith.  My own suffering has yet to even compare.  Let me say this, God's Sovereignty does not revolve around our happiness.  God is Sovereign, Almighty, The Truth, and even Just-whether we are suffering or not.  Let us worship Him because of who He is-not what He can do for us.

Now to get back to Job.  Job 21:7-13 says, "Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful?  Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes, their houses are safe from fear, and the rod of God is not on them.  His ox mates without fail; his cow calves and does not abort.  They send forth their little ones like the flock, and their children skip about.  They sing to the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the flute.  They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they go down to Sheol."

These are words that Job, himself, spoke.  He saw how the ungodly prosper and strive and seem to "live happily ever after."  But, the words that make me shudder, are the very last in this passage-"...and suddenly they go down to Sheol."   Sheol is otherwise known as Hell.

I'm going to leave Job for just a minute, and turn to Psalm 73:2-17,  "Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.  Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.  If I had said, "I will speak thus," behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.  When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I pereceived their end."

The writer of this psalm really seemed to be struggling with the prosperity of the wicked, and his own sufferings.  He even feels that his efforts to stay pure and innocent before God are in vain.  Do you think he feels 'hung out to dry' or what?  Have you felt that way-hung out to dry?  That everything you do for the Lord is in vain, when compared to the accomplishments of others, especially those who don't try to serve God very hard, or not at all?  This psalmist was very troubled-until he entered the sanctuary of God.  Only then, did he realize the truth and the very sad ending of the ungodly.  The same thing that Job came to understand.

Friends, go to the sanctuary of God.  Do not be jealous of those that prosper more, especially if they do not have the salvation of Christ.  We should be praying hard for them-for God to open their eyes and let them receive the gift of eternal life through Christ.   And if they never do, then don't begrudge them any prosperity, health, or wealth they have on this earth, because this is as close to paradise as they will ever come, and their end is a forever separation from the love of God, to spend eternity in damnation.  We should be praising God for calling us out of that, and praying for their souls. 

I turn back to Job now.  He called out to God several times, complaining of his afflictions and of the accusations and ill advice from his well-meaning friends.  Yes, Job was complaining!  God, in His infinite wisdom, makes sure to put all of this in the book of Job.  Our heavenly Father wants us to know that He hears our complaints!  Even in our sin of complaining, (and yes, it is a sin now and was for Job-who later repented-42:6), He does hear us!!  But, God didn't answer Job right away, or every time he complained.  God was silent for quite a while before He answered.  Sometimes, I have felt that my thoughts and prayers to God have just bounced right off the ceiling, know what I mean?  We suffer and struggle and long to hear just a word-and yet there is nothing, for what seems like forever.  Silence from God can be deafening, painful.  But, there is a lesson to be learned-we need to stop complaining of our suffering and look for God in our suffering.  Sometimes, he allows us to suffer just so we will know what it is like to be comforted, healed, or reconciled by Him.  Sometimes, He is silent because maybe we need to learn patience.  I don't have any idea why God is silent sometimes.  I do know that He does hear us and He will answer us-in His time, which is always the perfect time.  If He always answered us right away, we would no doubt miss out on a lesson and a blessing we can receive during the silence. 

God did speak, though.  Job chapter 38 and 39 is a full account of when God first speaks to Job regarding the situation he is in.  "...The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind" is how chapter 38 starts out.  Friends, I like that.  Sometimes He speaks to us in a whisper, but sometimes, He speaks to us out of the whirlwind.  God never tells Job the reasons for his sufferings and afflictions-never.  Instead, God starts asking the questions.  In 38:4 and following, God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements?  Since you know.  Or who stretched the line on it?"  Verses 12 and 13 go on to say, "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked shall be shaken out of it?" 

Brothers and sisters, sometimes we just have to deal with the fact that we don't get to know why.  God is the Creator and Commander of all things.  He doesn't owe us anything, much less an answer every time we think we deserve one.  Sometimes, the reasons for our suffering are deep in heavenly places and for God's purpose only.  This reminds me of the answer I give to my children at times, "Because I told you so."  I, as their parent, shouldn't have to give them a reason to obey every time I tell them to.  They need to do it because I'm their parent and I told them so.  Young children can't or don't need to always know our reasons.  The reasons might be too much for them to bear at the time, but the obedience isn't.  Our Father won't give us more than we can handle, but we might not be able to handle the reasons for it.  I worked with a godly lady one time, who said, "Sometimes, it's best not to know."  She was talking about suffering and heartaches.  She lost a daughter in a tragic auto accident.  Don't you think she asked God a thousand times, "Why?"  Her pain ran deeper than I hope to ever understand.  But, she went to the sanctuary of God.  He didn't tell her why, but He comforted her and felt her pain with her.  He will do the same for you.  Take time to read the whole of chapters 38-42.  In fact, read the whole story of Job. 

Dear friends, I can only hope and pray that the truth from the Word of God Himself, can set things in a new light and become an encouragement to you.  You might even be angry with God right now-take it to Him, He can handle it.  Be honest with Him, then let the anger go as quickly as possible.  As a child of God, our treasures on not to be stored on earth-where they will eventually be destroyed and ruined, but our real treasures should be stored in Heaven.  Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."  Paul says this after he teaches that we will all reap what we sow-whether it be sown from the flesh or from the Spirit.  Those who sow from the flesh will reap corruption, while those who sow from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 

On last scripture I share-Philippians 3:17-4:1.  "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.  For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that he has even to subject all things to Himself.  Therefore,...stand firm in the Lord, my beloved." 

Weep for those who reject God, don't compare your life to theirs.  Child of God-you will have eternal riches in glory-they will have eternal hell.  Go to the sanctuary of God.  Find God in your suffering and wait for Him-knowing that He has not forgot you, He hears every word you utter and those you don't, and your work for the Lord will not be in vain.  Take care, for He who is in you, has overcome the world!!  

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feed the Birds: Activities

One of my children's most requested bed time songs is "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins.  I love to sing it to them because I want to instill in my children a sense of caring for the world around us and the creatures that share the world with us.  Our little feathered friends are easy to help care for and a great way to teach a lesson of taking care of what God has given us.  There are several easy-to-make bird feeder ideas in the internet world, and I'm going to share just a few. 

A very simple and "green" bird feeder idea is to simply find a pine cone, tie some yarn at the top, making sure you have enough to hang from a branch, and cover it with peanut butter.  You can add lard or cornmeal to the peanut butter to help it go down easier, but there is no evidence to suggest that peanut butter can choke a bird.  For an added treat, you can sprinkle birdseed on the peanut butter and pat it down lightly to make sure it sticks. 

Another simple idea is to take yarn and thread it with Cheerios or other cereal that is round with a hole in the center, make a loop, then hang it from a branch.  This is great for small children because you can do counting lessons, or take the colorful cereal and practice with patterns.   If the little birds prefer, you can cover the cereal with peanut butter, and for an extra treat, sprinkle with bird seed.  With this idea, or any of the other ones, you can also keep watch of what kind of birds come to visit your little cafe.  Take pictures or keep a sketch book and then look them up on the internet to find out more about your wild neighbors.  You can also keep track of what time of day the birds visit, how long your particular feeder lasts before you have to create another one, and so on.  The educational lessons are almost endless.

As a fun Christmas idea, take your (real) Christmas tree outside when you are finished, and adorn it with the above ideas until you just absolutely have to get rid of it.  Popcorn is also a safe treat for birds and would look so cute.  What a great idea to get a little extra use out of those trees!

For other ideas, just search the net.  There are several ideas as well as food options for our little friends.  Have fun and feed the birds!! 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rainbow Brite Giveaway Winner...

I am pleased to announced that the winner of the Rainbow Brite doll collection giveaway is...
Beth from upstate New York!!  Her number was selected by 
Congratulations, Beth!! 

Thank you to all who entered.  I look forward to hosting other giveaways in the future, so keep following.  And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my writings that I post from time to time, as well. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rainbow Brite Review and Giveaway!

I was recently chosen by MomSelect (in conjuction with Hallmark) to receive a Rainbow Brite doll to review and given an opportunity to give one away!  I am very excited as this is my very first Giveaway contest ever!!

I remember Rainbow Brite and Friends from my younger years and enjoyed watching the cartoons with my sister.  She was cute then, but I believe the new collection is much better!  The collection includes Rainbow Brite, Tickled, and Moonglow.  I actually received Rainbow Brite, herself and she is adorable!  She is about 9.5" tall and comes complete with a pair of rainbow boots.  The colors are vivid and I believe every little girl will love them.  She is all things girly and wholesome and fun.   I am going to give mine to my daughter for her 4th birthday in a few weeks.  She will be soooo excited!!  The Rainbow Brite collection is rated for 3 years old and up. 

You can learn more about Rainbow Brite at and can find the Rainbow Brite doll collection at Target; soon to be sold at Toys R Us.  But, if you would like to receive one for free, just enter my contest!!  You will receive one of the three dolls I mentioned.  I can't guarantee or choose which doll you will receive, but I can tell you that they are all 'too cute' and you will enjoy which ever one you are sent.

To enter your name in my giveaway, you must FIRST leave a message and tell me your memories of Rainbow Brite as a child, or visit and tell me what you like. 

If you would like a second entry, follow my blog then leave a message to tell me that you do or that you just joined. 

The contest will end February 26, and the winner must give me your information by February 28 or I will choose a new winner, as I have to turn the winning information in on March 1st.  Names will be chosen by

Disclaimer: I received a Rainbow Brite doll for review purposes and one to offer in a giveaway. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. This review contains my honest opinions. I can not be held liable for winnings but will work with the company to resolve any matters.

Rainbow Brite Fun & Games

If you are a child of the 80's, then you will remember the name Rainbow Brite.  I remember watching the Rainbow Brite cartoons with my sister and singing along with the theme song.  Well...she's back and better than ever!!  So, when MomSelect offered to send me 10 Rainbow Brite computer CD's, one to keep and the others to give away, I jumped at the chance. 

The Rainbow Brite Adventure Pack CD offers an animated short, games, activities, and more.  You can also find these things at  When I introduced my 3 year old daughter to the first couple of animated shorts, she started pointing out which ones she wanted to watch next.  I showed her the Rainbow Brite collection and she quickly said, "I want that for my birthday!"  The activities are fun and the different game levels will cover a wide range of ages for your children to enjoy.  Even my 5 year old son got in on the action.  I actually had to pry them away because they were having so much fun! 

Rainbow Brite is very wholesome and safe for your young girls to enjoy.  If you have a young girl, go to today and start enjoying the fun.  The Rainbow Brite collection includes Rainbow Brite, Tickled, and Moonglow.  You can find them and their horses at Target and coming soon to Toys R Us.   

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Confessions of a Piddler (and a few ideas) part 2

As I promised in part 1 of 'Confessions of a Piddler', you will find below several practical and helpful ideas and advice to help you with your piddler.  Just a few are my own suggestions.  The rest come from the wonderful homeschool Yahoo group I belong to, but for safety reasons I will not list their names.  The ideas suggested however, can be used for any child, home schooled or traditionally schooled.  These ideas are also great with children that have ADD and ADHD or for any child that might just need a little motivation.  If you have not read part 1, please take time to do that.  It offers insight into reasons behind the piddling that you might find useful.  Knowing why is probably more important that trying to help a situation we don't fully understand in the first place.  Okay, okay.  Enough talk, already..... the list!

1. ~ The most popular method I've heard, (and was used by my mother, as well) is to...use a timer!
There are several suggested ways to utilize the little tool.  One idea given was to let your child "race against the timer."  Another suggestion is to use rewards and consequences.  Keep a prize box with small/cheap rewards if they beat the timer or let them do something fun as a treat, even just a trip to the park or a play area.  If they finish a certain assignment before the timer goes off, let them use the rest of the time to play before going to the next lesson.  As a consequence, they lose play time if they have to continue working instead.  I would add...make sure you give them a reasonable amount of time.  If your child constantly runs over, you might need to add a little more time for them or divide the assignment/lesson into different times.  Let them do part of it for a certain amount of time, take a break, then do the next part. 

2. ~ Rewards are a great motivator with or without a timer.  Again, keep the rewards small and cheap, if not free or you will find yourself overwhelmed.  Even a small snack will work. 

3. ~ One parent has "Cookie Fridays."  If her children stay on task all week, (good for home school assignments or homework brought home,) then on Fridays, she lets her children pick what kind of cookies to make.  She only uses a half of a batch to keep the sugary sweets to a minimum.  She said her children remind each other to stay on task and they have only missed out one week.  Cookies sound like a great motivator to me!! 

4. ~ Another suggestion was to play a lively classical music CD in the background.  Classical music is widely known for stimulating the brain. 

5. ~ A public school special education teacher recommended taking one of those long swimming noodles, cut it in half, and let them roll their feet on it while working.  Children's minds and bodies, especially younger ones, are constantly moving.  Being able to move a part of their body while doing seatwork might help keep them focused on the task at hand.

6. ~ Build their habit of focus gradually.  Start in 10 minute incriments, or even 5 minutes for the younger school age student and require 100% attention during that time and no play time or rewards until the task is finished.  As they mature, lengthen the amount of time.  It is suggested that if they absolutely cannot sit still and focus at a particular time, give them a physical task to do such as dusting or cleaning something until they get it out of their system.

7. ~  One lady said she just resigned herself to the fact that it was going to take a little longer.  While we need to teach our children to stay on task, this is a good idea to keep our own sanity.  Just love them the way they are and don't let it get to you.  I am a full grown piddler now, (grown ups call it procrastination,) and I can honestly will get better. 

8. ~ One of my own ideas is to make a 'mini-office' for your child.  Now, the office I made is probably better suited for home schooled children.  I will address a similar idea for traditionally schooled children in a minute.  The mini-office is basically a little cubicle made out of file folders or a tri-fold project board that your child can set in front of them on the table or desk to help block distractions from others.  I made one for my son, and it does help when his little sister is on the other side of the table.  Oddly enough, the helpful printouts I decorated it with can be a distraction itself.  But, once the newness of it wears off, it works quite well.  This may work for multiple children doing homework brought home, too.   Here are a few pictures of our mini-offices. I actually used a tri-fold project board that was so larg, I cut it in half and made two. (I wasn't going for this, but the dollar store was out of the smaller boards and I had to get a larger one at a big box store.) I made one with helpful math tips on it and one for reading and writing. Obviously, our printouts are geared for K-1 grade, but there are printouts available for whatever level you need. (I still have to add a pocket with fraction wheels to the vacant spot on the math one.)  

Here is a link to a site that will show more examples of mini-offices and where to get the printoutes...
Most of the mini-offices you will see on these sites are made of file folders attached together and once all the printouts are in place, they laminate the entire office.  I'm going to make one like this for my daughter. 

I would like to make a similar suggestion for children in a classroom. Often the homework that a child brings home is what was not completed during that time in class, possibly because of distractions around them. One of the things I remember doing in my elementary years of school was taking my binder and setting it up on the desk or table in front of me to pretend it was my 'office.' Actually, all of the girls did this. (I don't remember what the boys did.) But, we worked diligently in our 'offices' to get our work done. Maybe someone else did this and the 'mini-office' idea was born from it. Ask your child's teacher if it's okay for your child to set a binder up on their desk or the space in front of them while doing independent seatwork. Maybe it will help them stay focused on the task in front of them. And who knows, maybe it will inspire others to do the same, thus possibly helping someone else, too.

These ideas, as stated before, have come from other parents who deal with piddling everyday.  I hope you find something that helps you or sparks your own creative ideas on how to help our children when the task seems long.  Above all, love them and every little quirk about them!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Confessions of a Piddler (and a few ideas) part 1

As I struggle with my oldest child to stay on task during school lessons, I have to admit that he comes by it honestly.  I was a born piddler.  My mother loves to tell the story of when I was first born and still in the hospital.  Apparently, all of the other newborns finished their bottles long before I was done.  It is told that I would sip a little, then stop and look around, then sip a little more and continue this pattern until I was satisfied.  The doctor told my mother I would be a piddler all of my life.  Oh, how right he was!

Piddling begats piddling.  My daughter tries do everything as fast as she can, so I think it's safe to say she did not inherit this habit.  (Although she is only 3 right now and has not started formal lessons.)  My son, however, will be the child to carry this on.  And so, this brings me to our current situation of getting through our school lessons in a timely manner.  I truely understand that, at 5 years old, he is still young and easily side-tracked.  I don't expect him to behave and be as attentive as an adult should be.  (I say 'should be' because I know many adults who don't pay attention very well, either.)  But, it should not take all day to finish kindergarten - or 1st grade - level work. 

It is important to understand sometimes why the piddling is happening.  Sometimes, it's just pure piddling, with no other reason.  Other times, however, there may be something else going on.  My son is a perfectionist, of sorts.  He can get so hung up on trying to make his letters or numbers look exactly like the computer generated examples.  He will write and erase, write and erase, and so on.  You can see frustration building.  I constantly praise him for his efforts and try to remind him that as long as he does his best, that's good enough.  I don't expect his writing to look like mine or someone else's that's had many more years of practice.  It is hard for him to understand this, though.  So I tread lightly, and sometimes on egg shells, in order not to push him to never be satisfied or to just never try at all. 

Other times, the piddling flows out of his creative side.  He has quite an imagination and flare for creativity and it eventually has to come out somewhere.  If I have not provided enough activities for him to use these gifts of God, then he will start making curly-swirly letters and 'bubble' letters, as he calls them, to just simply write his name on the top of a page or when he's supposed to be working on his handwriting lesson.  Obviously, the more complicated you make it, the more time you are using.  His imagination also comes out in the form of questions.  For instance, his reading curriculum has a workbook with illustrations for the words he is to work on.  The other day, one of the words was "take."  The drawing was of someone 'taking' a gift from someone else, with rather determined expressions on their faces.  Instead of just circling, writing, or whatever the direction said to do with this and going on to the next, he started asking, "Why is he taking that from him?"  "What are they fighting about?"  "Is he angry?"  I had to make up reasons to satisfy his curiousity over this simple little drawing.  Since this drawing was used on every page for the word "take,"  I had to answer questions like this on every page and he would not move on to the next word until I answered him.  Again, more time was taken than I would have liked.

So, my first suggestion in dealing with piddling, is to figure out what is causing the piddling.  It could be just that-piddling.  It is a normal childish behavior to some degree, especially in younger children.  But, as you can see, there might be other explainations for "taking forever."   If your child comes home from school with a lot of homework, you might need to let them get their creativity out before they start on their homework.  This might also include physical activity.  Perhaps you have a perfectionist on your hands that you need to be sensitive of.  I hope to study more about how to handle perfectionism in children and perhaps share that with you some day.  Maybe there is some other reason for your child's piddling.  If you home school, spend more time watching them, talking to them, or whatever it takes.  If your child goes to school elsewhere, talk to their teachers to see what is going on in class, as well as talking to and spending time with your child.  If we know our children and what is going on, then we can better help them.

To keep this post from become too lengthy, I'm going to put this subject in two parts.  I hope these insights, so far, might help you in any way.  Please read part two for practical ideas to help with your piddler.