Out of my technology realm…

Okay…I could use some help.  I just recently dived off the 10 ft diving board into the world of the Apple iPad to be utilized mainly for homeschooling purposes.  But…have you checked out all the education apps?  I’m in a state of overwhelm-ness (yes, I create words for my writing purposes; don’t you?).  

So, quite simply, I need some input!  I’m not overly eager to spend any great amount on apps after dishing out a large chunk of change for the device, but many are inexpensive or free.   If you have or know of some great apps, specific for homeschooling or school classes (writing tools, math facts, science quizzes etc) and any productivity apps that may be helpful to keep MOM on task and organized, I would love for you to tip me off to their names and maybe a quick line on why you love it?  This will be a great help for me and my kids will thank you for it since we all know school-work on a computer or device is infinitely more appealing than a pen and a piece of paper (although we do that too).

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I’m an odd one.

While I was in college, I continually felt a nagging “I’m not like most Christians I know”. All of my college christian friends were playful, outgoing or gentle and quiet.  When I met new friends, it was almost a universal truth confessed after they got to know me a little…”you know, when I first met you, you really intimidated me.”  And what made things worse…they could never tell me why.  I mean, I wanted to know if I was glaring at people, being mean, or whatever.  But no, much of the time they just said I was intimidating.  Humph.  How is that helpful?  I kept trying to push myself into being something I wasn’t…less intimidating without knowing how I was.  I had a helpful friend try to tell me to find out who in the Bible I identified most closely with, preferably a female.  I came up short.  I found a man, but not a woman…which left me puzzling and confused as to why God made me the way I was if I was an intimidating female! Oh, I could find lots of examples of females I resonated with in movies or business…but they aren’t models of christian submission and grace.  For almost 2 years, this rub of not fitting in or understanding myself was a constant tension.

Then I started being discipled by an older student who “just happened” to be majoring in Psychology.  After discussing this issue, she came one day prepared with the DISC personality test.  I took it and finally at least had a name and idea of who God had made me.  I’m a D.  Otherwise, Dominant, Driver, Doer, etc.  And yeah, there aren’t many women like it.  I didn’t know then, but now do, that statistically, D’s make up 10% of the general population.  Just 10%!  I’m sure a much smaller percentage are female.  Still, having an idea of my strengths and weaknesses gave me something to prayerfully work on. I could actually see why and how I would be intimidating to others.  Especially since a whopping 40% of the population is “S”, stable, loyal, calm…and I particularly terrify those people.

Fast forward a few more years….I’m still hearing I’m intimidating, still praying over the many weaknesses the D has and trying to utilize the strengths for His glory…when I stumbled on a Bible study that talked about a woman who appeared similar to me.  WHAT?!  I spent a long time studying Abigail.  For the first time ever, I had found a female biblical character whom I felt I could model myself after.  This was an amazing revelation.  No one likes to feel odd or alone in who they are and we greatly desire to find someone whose footsteps we can walk behind (1 Cor 11:1).  Here was an example of how to use the gifts God had given in my personality within the confines of biblical femininity.  Since then I have found examples mentioned of women who very well could be D’s in the Bible, but none so detailed as Abigail.  And I am so grateful that God chose to include her story. I hear “I’m intimidating” less and less but I take no credit for it.  Without Christ slowly changing me from the inside out, I would be a decidedly terrifying task oriented woman with no friends.  Thankfully, He is never content to leave us where we are; but always refining us closer to the image of His Son.

Have you ever taken one of these tests?  Another one is the animal test; lion, otter, golden retriever, beaver and they co-inside with D, I, S, C.  I’m not saying that your personality is unchangeable…on the contrary, I have seen Him moderate the personality within me and smooth some of the roughness off.  Sometimes, though, it is a great help to know why you do things or react to things.  And it’s a great way to help you know what your strengths are, where perhaps you can best serve the Lord in the Body, and how to prayerfully seek help in the weaknesses.

Allowance or Commission?

I grew up on allowance.  As I got older, my allowance got a bit larger and as a teen, it was 5$ in quarters to allow my parents to take quarters out whenever I didn’t do something I was supposed to.  Which looking back, is hilarious since I had only to keep my room clean and not leave the kitchen a disaster.  But, like every teenager, I insisted such hard work was torture.

So come having children of my own, it got to the time that I would follow my parents’ method and begin giving Sabrina her own allowance.  John didn’t come from that kind of family, instead he had to earn the money with chores.  So for a few years we didn’t come to a decision.  I would randomly give her a dime or a quarter for cleaning a room by herself as a reward and it spurred her on.

In Dave Ramsey’s classes, he recommends having them work for the money you give them.  It’s a difference of allowance (which pays you for breathing) and commission (which pays you for a job above and beyond).  So the money they earn is not for what you would normally expect of a family member participating in the running of the home but for things above that.  Then you go farther and show from even a young age, how to take the money earned and divide it between give, spend and save so they have that ingrained before their first job outside of the home.

So, I thought of the few jobs my kids could do if they chose and earn money for them.  With an 8-year-old, 5-year-old and 4-year-old, I wanted to have enough that they could each take a chore and earn something.  Vacuuming each room is 1$.  Wiping off the table and sliding glass doors is 0.50$.  Folding laundry that isn’t your own.  Mopping the floors.  Wiping down the bathroom sink and mirror.

The first week we implemented I never cleaned my house.  The kids wanted to do it all and I promptly paid out more than 14$ total in one week.  We then changed to a maximum 6$ each week (my budget can’t afford more!) and that has been better.  Sabrina is the one who understands this is her way to get the toys I won’t buy for her (because of not playing with similar ones in the past) so she’s usually the one asking to vacuum or mop.  But she has 3 envelopes in her closet and each commission she gets she faithful divides between her give-save-spend.  And on Sunday’s she happily gives it away.  Hopefully, we can instill in her a good work ethic, a good and cheerful give ethic, and a bit of wisdom as she eyes the stuff she wants and calculates if it’s worth it to spend her hard-earned money or if she should wait.  She learned that different stores or places can carry the same thing for a cheaper price.  And she learned, a bit painfully the first time, that once it is spent you have to start over in your saving to get the next item.  These lessons come naturally from this commission process, which means I have less to teach.  I know in our society of wanting to give our kids everything we didn’t have is the norm and it’s not necessarily a bad thought but more than giving them things I didn’t have I want to give them the lessons and knowledge I didn’t have.  Hopefully, they will grow and learn these before they have college loans or families to support and are struggling to pay the bills.  If they can, then they are much farther ahead than we were.

Santa vs Jesus

My littlest, Jake, just turned 4 last week.  He also went to VBS this summer for the first time.  He had a great time, learned some songs and learned that the “Rescuer’s Mission was to seek and to save the lost”.  Unfortunately, he got a bit confused as to who the Rescuer is.  So what do I hear last week?  “Mommy, Santa Claus died for us!”

I can totally understand. I mean, at 4 who’s the biggest, coolest guy around?  Santa Claus!  He’s fat, jolly and brings toys to all the good little girls and boys.  So perhaps the confusion of Santa Claus and the Savior who takes away the sins of the world is plausible.  I just remember looking at him with the deer in the head lights look.  My thought was, Where did he hear that!?  And then it hit me, he never heard it. His little brain was trying to remember who died for us and Santa Claus was his reference point.

“No baby, Santa didn’t die for us.  Jesus died for us.”

He DID die for us.  He’s dead!”

“Well, certainly St. Nicholas is dead, but he did not die for our sins.  Jesus dies for our sins.”

“Santa Claus didn’t die for us?”

“No, honey.  Jesus did.”

Oh.”

It’s been a couple of days since the first conversation, and I’ve had to repeat it several times, but I think I’m finally untangling the cobwebs in his little mind.  He’s stopped asking if Santa died for us and instead, puts quite plainly, that Santa didn’t die for us.  I’m hoping in the next week, we will have it firmly fixed who really did sacrifice Himself for the remission of sins.