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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Disciplining Children With Non-Verbal Cues

This week I'm posting some of my most popular posts while I'm preparing for and going on a week's vacation. I hope you enjoy them--again! This one was originally posted July 17, 2012.

Ever feel like you're talking to a brick wall when it comes to disciplining your kids? Seem like nothing you say is heard or obeyed? Maybe it's time to come up with a different discipline strategy. If you're tired of talking and having to say the same things repeatedly, why not try silent discipline?

Start disciplining with nonverbal cues. Sit down with your children and talk honestly with them. Tell them you aren't happy with how the disciplining has been going. Own up to the fact that you may not have been as respectful to them as you should have been, if that's the case. Never mind that they may have been disrespectful to you, too. Apologize and ask their forgiveness. Tell them you're willing to try a different way of discipline if they'll be responsive to it. Explain that you'll use nonverbal cues when you need them to do something differently. Let them help you decide what the cues will be. Here are a few suggestions:

Nonverbal Cue                                                    Translation
Hand on child's arm                                               You're talking back, please stop
Shaking head                                                         No. That's unacceptable.
Index finger pointing up.                                         Please wait. I'll be right with you.
Hand on heart.                                                       I love you.
Thumbs up                                                            You're doing great!
Hand up                                                                 Stop
Index finger to lips                                                  Quiet

It may be that your child might like to have some nonverbal cues to use for you, too, such as:

Hand on your arm when you're talking to someone     I need to say something.
Finger twirling in the air                                               I have to go to the bathroom.
Tug on his ear                                                             I'm bored/I'm ready to go.
Hand cupped behind ear                                             I didn't hear you.

Of course, many parents use standard American Sign Language with their children, too, and find it to be useful, especially for nonverbal children. Using cues ratchets down tension. It keeps parents and kids from yelling at each other and it bonds you because you have a secret code no one else knows. There's power in a loving touch. It conveys so much more than spoken words. Nonverbal cues work beautifully with some, but not all, children. So if you're frustrated with verbal communication with your kids, try it! Even a slight diversion from the norm is a nice break for everyone and it may make your usual form of communication easier to hear if you return to it.

Do you use nonverbal communication or discipline with your children? What are your cues and how do they work?


Monday, June 27, 2016

Is Online School Right for Your Child?

This week I'll be posting some of my most popular posts while I'm preparing for and going on a week's vacation. I hope you enjoy them--again! This one was originally posted April 2, 2012.

We're switching our daughter's school next year. Again. This will be the fourth school change since she started kindergarten. She'll be a junior in high school next year, so maybe that's not too bad. But it always seems like a big upheaval when we do.
We don't change schools just for fun. And our daughter has always been in on the decision. Next year will be a big change for us. For the first time, she'll be "going" to a virtual school from home. Here are our main reasons for choosing this option. Maybe you'll relate!
1. A more flexible schedule. We've often been unable to do things we want as a family, or even that she wants to do on her own because her school schedule didn't allow it. At an online school, she can do her school work when it's convenient for her. It can be done in half the time of regular schools, which frees her up to pursue her many other interests.
2. More individualized program. At an online school, she'll work at her own pace in each class. If she has questions, she can still contact her teacher via email, phone or in person, and get the help she needs.
3. Mobile education. If we want to take a trip, she can take her computer with her and do her school work while we're traveling. Or she can work ahead in her classes and not have to do any school work while we're away. Her choice.
4. A more balanced life. Right now school takes up most of her life. Even after school's out, she still has homework to do. If we have activities in the evening it's sometimes hard to fit it all in. Online school will relieve some of the pressure and stress of school life. Sure, it's still a rigorous educational process where she'll have to work hard and learn, but it will be done around our schedule, not the other way around. Who knows? She may even have time for a part-time job!
5. Social life. Unlike myself, my daughter is very social. She loves being with friends of all ages. Many people think being in an online school means you're isolated and can't be with your schoolmates. However, the school we chose has social events where online kids can get to know each other. They have field trips (more than regular schools!) where they get to do fun things together while learning. And in today's world of email, social networking and smart phones, my daughter will always be in contact with her old school friends as well as her new ones. They'll still get together and do things just like they always have. So really, online school will enlarge her social world, not shrink it.
6. A solid education. The school we chose is accredited and uses only certified teachers. It follows our state's guidelines so we know our daughter will get a good education that colleges will accept. She'll have to pass the state testing just like in a regular school. Best of all, it's free! Because it's a public school, it gets funding from the state. It provides everything we'll need for school, including a desktop computer, a stipend to cover Internet expense, books, science lab equipment, and anything else a course would require.

If you're considering a change in schools next year, I'd encourage you to look at online education. We're excited about it and can't wait to start next year!

What schooling method do you use? What are the pros and cons?


Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Family Memories

At my writers critique group, Tuesday's Children, one of our group expressed that her eight-year-old granddaughter was moving back and she wasn't sure what kinds of activities to do with her. She confessed feeling a bit jealous of the other grandma who did extravagant, and even expensive, things with her. How could she compete with that?

The answer? You don't. We decided that what our kids and grandkids need most from us is time, and sometimes just doing ordinary things with us. Our conversation turned to what we do with the children in our lives or what we remember about our own childhoods.

Uno card game
One mentioned that they play Redneck Uno. It's their own made-up version of the card game. Every time someone draws a particular card, they have to come up with a Redneck joke. You know the kind..."You might be a Redneck if... " This has produced lots of laughs and a sense of family within their clan.

Another spoke of how they all love baseball, but cheer for different teams. There's a friendly competitiveness as they root for their players. This family goes to games together, as well as watches them on TV. They know the rules of the game and lots of stats about their teams and their players. They've even been known to plan vacations around visiting baseball fields around the country. Such fun!

One confessed she loved to play poker as a child. Her father was a gambler and she learned to play young. However, she managed to avoid the addiction of gambling and her family enjoys playing the game together with low stakes.

The husband of one of our group reminisces about how he loved fishing with his father. The special time together and the anticipation of the catch was enough to make this a happy memory even though he hates eating fish!

Fishing with dad
My family loves playing games together. Our new favorite is Dutch Blitz, a fast-paced card game. We have also raised our family on Candyland, Monolopy Jr., Skip-Bo, Uno, Go Fish, Scattegories, and Taboo. Another favorite that even the youngest children can play is Spot It!

All these activities foster family unity, fun, and make memories. They don't cost much, except your time. There are so many things to do with children from taking walks, playing at the park, baking cookies, or jumping rope.

What do you like to do with the children in your life? What special memories do you have of time spent with your parents or grandparents?


Monday, June 20, 2016

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: K

Week eleven of the 26 Weeks Letter Challenge, where I'll post photographs of things that begin with that week's letter. Feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog. It's a great way to use some of those pictures taking up space in your computer.

K is for:

Kids: Tyler, Ashley, and Jessica


Kobi, our super cute dog.

Kindness. Probably one of the most important things on earth.
Happy Monday!


Thursday, June 16, 2016


Breath. That one word conjures up so many thoughts. Of course, breath can be good or bad. Breath mint, anyone?

But beyond that, breath is the one thing every living being has, including those in the animal kingdom. Duh. Big deal, right? Well, without it, we're dead. So yeah, it is kind of a big deal.

Consider this:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 KJV).

Our breath is the essence of who we are. It is our very soul. It makes us who we are--alive, breathing, vibrant. It is also what makes us so very different from animals. He didn't breathe into the animals to make them alive. He spoke, and they were, just like when he made the sun and light and oceans (Gen. 1:24). But us? He bent down and scooped up some dust and formed us with loving hands. Then He gave us His own breath, sealing us with a life-giving kiss.

Can you even wrap your mind around that? We are made in God's image (Gen. 1:26), breathing His own holy breath. It is on loan to us from our Creator.

Every time we take a breath, we're breathing in God and the life He gives. It's the holiest part of our sinful selves.

Inhale. Exhale.

God is with you and within you. Go into the day with His peace.


Monday, June 13, 2016

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: J

Week ten of the 26 Weeks Letter Challenge, where I'll post photographs of things that begin with that week's letter. Feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog. It's a great way to use some of those pictures taking up space in your computer.

J is for:
Artist/Photographer: Liz Lemon Swindle
Jesus. This picture of Jesus with a child is exactly how I like to
think of Him. Strong, kind, fun, good with kids, old people,
 and everyone in between. A guy I'd like to hang out with.

Jell-o. Is there any food that's more versatile?

Jack-o-lanterns. I don't have any of these in my world right now,
But I used to and I loved them.

Jigsaw puzzles. I've always enjoyed doing these.

If I could have found a usable picture of little girls jumping rope, I would have included it as one of my J words. But I couldn't. However, jumping rope when I was a kid, especially with my sister, was one of my favorite activities. We jumped individually with our own ropes, as well as together with one rope. We even learned the elastic Chinese jump ropes, and believed ourselves to be professional level at doing it. Ha! Now we've grown up and aren't jumping much. But I'll never forget those glory days!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday Doors - Kilauea Lighthouse - June 9, 2016

Because I love beautiful or unique doors, I decided to play along with Norm's Thursday Doors Challenge this week. As his blog states, "Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world." He encourages bloggers to post door photos on our blogs between Thursday and Saturday and then link them to his blog so we can see each others' beautiful doors.

This is the Kilauea Lighthouse in Kauai, Hawaii.  I love it's gray, metal doors.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Timeless Tuesday - Unrush Me

Sometimes I find myself rushing from one task or activity to another. When I find myself in too much of a rush mode, I try to stop, take a breath, and regroup.

Life isn't meant to be rushed through.

When we rush, our stress levels rise. Often, we become less patient with those around us. We may even try to hurry them up, too, which usually just causes more stress and irritability.

So let's try to slow down. Absorb the moments that make up your life. They don't have to be spectacular to be meaningful. Get back your joy. Let go of that frantic, always-one-step-behind feeling. Because what are we rushing to? Our certain deaths? Thanks, but I can wait for that. One slow, unhurried step at a time for me.

May your day be slow, unhurried, and filled with previously unseen beauty and wonder.


Monday, June 6, 2016

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: I

Week nine of the 26 Weeks Letter Challenge, where I'll post photographs of things that begin with that week's letter. Feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog. It's a great way to use some of those pictures taking up space in your computer.

I is for:

Internet! Where would any of us be without this?
Introvert. This is my grandson. He takes after his Grammy.
Ice. When you live in Arizona, its importance cannot be overstated.
Investment. Men and women who have invested and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 21

I'm participating in Cee's Share Your World Challenge today.

What is your favorite go to beverage? Water, coffee, tea, coke, soda (non-alcoholic)
The beverage I drink most of is water. It's a must living in the Arizona desert. But it's not necessarily my favorite. I love iced tea, especially with a packet of Stevia or Equal in it. That would probably be my favorite, but I try not to drink it that much or it keeps me awake at night. I never drink soda at home, but I drink it sometimes when I'm at a restaurant, especially if it's fast food. Then I always choose Diet Coke, caffeine-free if they have it.

Can you change a car tire?
Sure can. When I was a teenager, my dad insisted I learn to change a flat tire before I could get my license. It was just part of learning to be a responsible driver. I've been grateful ever since, though I've seldom had to do it. But it feels good to know I could if I had to.

Are you a listener or a talker?
I'm more of a listener, though I can be a pretty good talker if I'm with people I know. But my natural bent tends toward quiet introversion.

Would you rather have no internet or no cell phone?
No cell phone, please. I hate talking on the phone and might never do it if I could get away with it. If I ever call you, you know you're in my circle of closest friends or family. Now texting? That's a whole nother story. I don't mind that a bit. But I could live without it. But no internet would be like cutting off a limb.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I'm grateful my daughter and her family got moved back safely to my state and now live only ten minutes away. Bliss!

I'm looking forward to a family gathering at my house on Memorial Day. We're grilling burgers and hot dogs and everyone's bringing a side dish or dessert. It will be the first time we're all together in almost a year-and-a-half. Did I mention how over the moon I am that my daughter and family are back?!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday - Hurting

Hey, we've all been hurt. Many times. Sometimes brutally. Sometimes subtly. Maybe by a stranger. Maybe by our closest friend. It never feels good.

But here's the truth. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for our sins--yours, mine, and that person's who hurt you--is enough. It's bigger, stronger, more powerful than the hurt we experienced. It's enough to help you heal and move forward into a positive future.

And if I'm being honest, sometimes I've been the one who hurt someone. I was that person. What Jesus did by dying for me is so undeserved, but I accept the gift of His forgiveness. It reminds me how frail I am, how utterly hopeless some days. But Jesus covers it all. He gives me worth.

If Jesus can extend a hand of grace, forgiveness, and love to the very ones who hung him naked on that cross, surely I can do the same in my own small way to those who hurt me.

I refuse to let the sin I've done, or the sin that's been done to me, dictate who I am or how I behave. Instead, I choose to release it into the hands of the One who can mold my sin and hurt into something beautiful, and in turn, make my life beautiful through it.

Don't allow what has been done to you to become bigger than what Jesus did for you. Choose to live in grace, not wallow in grudges.