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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Striving is a work of the flesh

Today, God said "ceased striving" Striving is a work of the flesh. If our flesh is week, we are only fighting flesh with flesh when we strive.  When our flesh is weak we need grace. It is done, God has done it all on the cross. I just need to know I am redeemed and follow my redeemer. Away from the old life...

Awesome truth, awesome song. I am redeemed, you set me free, shake off these heavy chains, rub off every stain, I'm not who I used to be ...

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me
“Son, stop fighting a fight that's already been won”

I am redeemed
You set me free
So I'll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain
Now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed
I am redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You're not done with me yet


I don't have to be
The old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name
A new life I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

Chorus (X2)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You are God - Philips, Craig and Dean

Some time at some point of our lives we experience pain. Sometimes it stems from being helpless, sometimes we fall, sometimes we hurt, sometimes we lost. And we want to shake that feeling off, only it wouldn't go away as easily.

I was walking along the underground walkway at Orchard Road the other day and saw a busker. I whipped out more than I would usually give. He said "thank you very much", and I could tell he was surprised and immensely grateful. Unknown to me, my act of self-preservation at trying to heal my own pain through random act of what I thought was an extravagant gift looked feeble in contrast to his gratitude. God spoke to me instead. He said, "My child I forgave and I was the one who was extravagant" That is why this song  spoke to me, God is still in control no matter what circumstance.We can never out-give him, even in our pain. We cannot save ourselves. I used to believe we love only when we give till it hurts. But I know now God doesn't want our act of pious-ness, he wants our hearts. When we truely love, we give our hearts unreservedly.

When I was in the bookstore yesterday, a little child of about 2 or 3 came to me as I was browsing. He couldn't look at me in the eye, and was holding back his tears. He asked "Aunty, do you know where is my m...mummy?" I looked at him and was at once overwhelmed with his sense of lostness-ness. I stood up and assured him & held his hands, "Its ok, little boy, your mummy is looking for you too, she should be in this shop."

He was sobbing as his mum emerged from behind the shelves. The scene vividly reminded me of the God, our heavenly father who is always there, always looking for us when we get lost. He never forsake us and never gave us up. Do we look for him when we are lost? He is unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable, that's what he is, he is God alone. Right now, in the good times and bad, he is on the throne. He is God alone. If you have a situation that is taken right out of your hands, trust it into your loving heavenly Father's. Be blessed.

 You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a God
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a God
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that's just the way it is

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

You're the only God
Whose power none can contend
You're the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God
Who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that's just the way it is


That's what You are

LetsSingIt - Your favorite Music Community

Monday, December 10, 2012

The more I seek you - Kari Jobe

If there may be a place in your heart that you needed someone to reach down and say you are worthy, you are beautiful , you are needed, how much you are wanted and treasured. know that this person is God. If there may be times you face rejection, know that God never rejected you. If there may a place you have fallen short, know that God's mercy wants to embrace you. If there may condemnation, God's love said that his heartbeat is for you. Know that he will  let you lay against him and let you hear his heart beat. So much is his love, he is beckoning you to melt in his peace. Be blessed. 

The more i seek you,
the more i find you.

The more i find you,
the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat

This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming

The more i seek you,
the more i find you.

The more i find you,
the more I love you

I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat

This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming

I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat

This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming

I wanna sit at your feet
drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat

This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I ask for a stronger vocal chord!

God find us in the way he can reach our heart. I have a wish. I love singing but the song is in my heart, when it comes out from my lips, I always think I don't sound good enough. But I could not stop singing. And thank God he looks into our heart, because I won't even stop to listen to myself sing! yeah.. pretty bad, that is. So while I am recovering from a nasty cough, I want to sing this song in the studio. Why, I could ask God for a stronger vocal. My voice has always been thin, as my once choir teacher from Singapore Youth Choir described it and I dislike it. But then if God can heal the sick, he can change my vocal chords... ha! So yes, I will ask. And I will sing this song in the studio till God change me. Because he is God!

Phillips Craig And Dean - You Are God Alone Lyrics

You are not a God created by human hands
You are not a God dependent on any mortal man
You are not a God in need of anything we can give
By Your plan that just the way it is

You are not a God created by human hands
You are not a God dependent on any mortal man
You are not a God in need of anything we can give
By Your plan that just the way it is

You are God alone from before time began
You were on Your throne,
You're God alone And right now, in the good times and bad
You are on Your throne and You're God alone

You're the only God whose power, none can contend
You're the only God whose name and praise will never end
You're the only God who's worthy of everything we can give
You are God that's just the way it is

You are God alone from before time began
You were on Your throne, You're God alone
And right now, in the good times and bad
 You are on Your throne and You're God alone

That's what You are

That's what You are

You are God alone from before time began You were on Your throne,
You're God alone And right now, in the good times and bad
You are on Your throne and You're God alone

That's what You are

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Prayer for healing

When we pray for healing, we do not need long impressive chain of vocabulary or to have the right methodology. There is no need for dramatic showmanship, waving, snapping of fingers etc. I am convinced that when we pray, we only need two things. Presence of God & Power of God.

Matthew 13: 58
Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Jesus himself was not able to perform any miracles because the people in his own town did not believe. Jesus was present, but because they did not believe, there was no miracle.

Ex 33:14-18
And He said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" Then he said to Him, 'If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here..."

Moses would not move until He has God's presence and the lord said to Moses "I will also do this thing that you have spoken for you have found grace in my sight, and I know you by name.: And he said, Please, show me your glory."

Moses encountered the glory of God at Mt. Sinai and yet he seeked the presence of God to go with him.

Luke 5:17b
"... and the power of the Lord was present to heal them."

In order to do God's work, it has to be done his way. We do not seek the perfection of a christian walk, but a pure heart. One that is saturated with his Spirit and a vessel that is pure so that his presence can dwell in us.

Luke 11:2
Jesus said to his disciples, when you pray, say

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation. But deliver us from the evil one.

There is only 1 model prayer and the only longest prayer Jesus uttered. Many people confused power with length of prayer, amount of words used or how intensely one prays. Jesus prayer was often authoritative, short and decisive. True power does not depend on how loud a prayer is or how wordy it is. Let's see how Jesus prayed for the sick.

Demon-Possessed Man Healed
Mark 5:8
For he said "come out of the man, unclean spirit!"

Girl Restored to Life
Mark 5:41
The he took the child by the hand and said to her :"Talitha, cumi" Which translates, " Little girl, I say to you, arise." Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age.

Unclean Spirits Cast Out
Mark 1:25
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.

Boy is Healed
Mark 9:25
He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it "Deaf & dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"

To God be the glory.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Revival - Mark Robin

The day is nearly ended. What do you do at the end of the day when all's done. I retreat to the most amazing place on earth, God's presence and I soak.  I can't contain my joy and I have to shout it out! And I was hoping you can hear me!

This blog went through so much in the last 6 years. It is my personal journal, my heart cry, my challenges, my inspiration, but it is one walked with the one whom I love most, my Lord, my papa God. Today, finally, housekeeping is done. This would be a blog that is dedicated largely to my Faith Journey & Education.

I believe there is no where on earth better than God's presence and if I have the chance, I would love to bring you all here.  So in little ways, I blog about what I experience. It is my belief that men of God that God calls will walk in spirit and in power. And signs and wonders would be as natural as seeing rain. It is my heart to see people set free, saved and freed. It is my heartbeat that people's eyes open to the truth.

In all things, there is a solution. There is a way. And you never have to walk in fear, or be in bondage. Friends, when the day is done, where do you go? Come, come to the place of rest.

Best place on earth - God's presence. Enjoy!

I hear the voice of one calling, prepare ye the way of the Lord.
And make His paths straight in the wilderness
And let your light shine in the darkness
And let your rain fall in the desert.

As sure as gold is precious and the honey sweet,
So you love this city and you love these streets.
Every child out playing by their own front door
Every baby laying on the bedroom floor.

Every dreamer dreaming in her dead-end job
Every driver driving through the rush hour mob
I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones
You're going to send revival, bring them all back home

I can hear that thunder in the distance
Like a train on the edge of town
I can feel the brooding of Your Spirit
"Lay your burdens down, Lay your burdens down".

From the Preacher preaching when the well is dry
To the lost soul reaching for a higher high
From the young man working through his hopes and fears
To the widow walking through the veil of tears

Every man and woman, every old and young
Every fathers daughter, every mothers son.
I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones
You're going to send revival, bring them all back home

I can hear that thunder in the distance
Like a train on the edge of town
I can feel the brooding of Your Spirit
"Lay your burdens down, Lay your burdens down".

Revive us, Revive us,
Revive us with your fire!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Because of who you are

Loved this worship song. Amazing voice, incredibly great in declaring His name, the truth! Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Nissi!


Vicki Yohe
Because Of Who You Are lyrics

Because of who You are, I give You glory
Because of who You are, I give You praise
Because of who You are, I will lift my voice and say
Lord I worship You, because of who You are
Lord I worship You, because of who You are.

Because of who You are, I give You glory
Because of who You are, I give You praise
Because of who You are, I will lift my voice and say
Lord I worship You, because of who You are
Lord I worship You, because of who You are.

Jehovah Jireh, my Provider
Jehovah Nissi, Lord You reign in victory
Jehovah Shalom, my Prince of Peace
And I worship You, because of who You Are
[ Lyrics from: ]

Sunday, August 26, 2012

'Creation' craft (for 3yr-old)

In my attempt to teach the concept of "creation" to a 3-yr-old. My goal was to make it very simple, fun, hands-on,memorable and can be played over and over again.

So I looked over my NIV Bible for the days of creation and came up with a visual concept. Then I used
for sequence and reference, and then looked for similiar coloured paper to cut out.

Below are the instructions for the craft.

I tore the papers to create LAND for both sides of the paper.
cut out blue SKY, leaving the bottom part wavy in order to match the sea waves.
cut white clouds as DAY.
cut dark blue sea and its wave
Looked for cliparts of BIRDS & BUTTERFLIES in the AIR
Looked for cliparts of FISH in the SEA
Looked for cliparts of ANIMALS on LAND, MAN & WOMAN, TREES & FLOWERS
Looked for cliparts of STARS, MOON & SUN

Then I look for a large black piece of paper, enough to cover the entire small magnetic white board
placed magnetic stips behind so it sticks tightly. I laminated all cut-outs items, as well as day by day creation timeline. I assemble all parts and have it within reach of the child.

First we read from the childrens Bible, and then I used the creation timeline as a sequence card to retell the story. I go " On the first day, God created DAY and NIGHT" and my son will pick out the half a white piece of paper to place beside the black background. "On the second day, God created the SKY and the WATER" and my son will pick out the SKY and overlay on the white paper and so on...

And after God made everything, I say, God saw all he had made and he said "It was very good".

The child can play the creation game by himself once we lay the sequence card for him to follow. A great game that also trains observation skills, memory by story sequencing.

Application lesson:
We trace his body outline and tell him that God made him special.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Why learn Chinese

When we forget to speak chinese for days and then we had to do our Chinese lesson, this is what my 5 yr-old son will say " I dislike chinese". And today I made him tell me 10 good reasons why we should and must learn chinese. Here's his version.

1) We must learn Chinese so we can become smart.
2) We must learn Chinese so that when we go to China, we can speak to people in Chinese.
3) We must learn Chinese so that we can answer others when they speak Chinese to us.
4) We must learn Chinese so that people will not laugh at us.
5) We must learn Chinese so we can sing Chinese songs.
6) We must learn Chinese so that we can read Chinese books.
7) We must learn Chinese because God made us Chinese.
8) We must learn Chinese because it it a beautiful language.
9) We must learn Chinese so we can watch "Who are the Chinese".
10) .... ?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

God of Jacob

Who is this God of Jacob?

Jacob's name means surplanter or deciever. Jacob was that self-willed, selfish businessman. Jacob stole his brother's birthright, cheated his dad and then was cheated by his Uncle in return. For 25 years Jacob ran away from his family. Time does not heal. It only pushes things further into the recesses of the heart and it got worse. But God was with him, not because he was good, but because God was good.

He was a man who wrestled with the angle until God touched him. God had to remove the strongest part of his body so that through nothing, he can be finally look to God for strength. It was symbolic of his tendency to rely on his natural strength and ability. Through brokeness, he was made whole. And his name is no longer Jacob but Israel.

I am convinced that we too have dip our hands, our eyes, our hearts, and our thoughts hence our time and energy that corrupts that which does not glorify. So like Jacob we are self-willed and selfish. Because God in his abundant grace does not bull-doze his way with us, we get into the habit of squandering our God-given freedom.

So in the attittude of humility, let God turn our eyes from evil. Give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another. Let nothing be above the love we have for him. Let nothing from the past nor the present holds us down from being abandoned to God.

Revival can only start with us. Humility begets repentance, begets revival. Make this your prayer today and stand for ourselves and the generation.

Give Us Clean Hands

Capo 3
G   C 
G   C   D  G  
   (verse 1)
   G                  D
We bow our hearts, we bend our knees.
O Spirit come make us humble.
   G                D
We turn our eyes from evil things.
  C                      C
O Lord we cast down our idols.

So Give us clean hands
And Give us pure hearts
       Em                        C
Let us not lift our souls to another.
And Give us clean hands.
And Give us pure hearts.
          Em                    C
Let us not lift our souls to another.

              G                    D
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks.
               Em              C
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob 

Em   D    C  

You're my God,  You're my God  

Em   D    C   Am  D  G
Oh oh 

Back to Chorus

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shekinah Glory - Holy Spirit Increase

Have you ever felt like wanting to be engulfed by heaven so badly? I remembered I was in church one day and wanted to stand up on the chair and reach my hands into the sky ... all because I wanted so much to touch heaven. My spirit has already tasted heaven but my physical body hasn't yet caught up. And my heart would ache and ache and suddenly, I realised that must be how we pine for home.

Its amazing how we are only made whole in the Spirit, Mind, Soul and Body. God is more than good, he always desire to meet us to complete us. All we need is to wait on him. Only that the waiting can be so much more difficult in this age when everything seems to move at lightning speed.

You know, I have to say Lord, I am grateful. Grateful because I am a stay home mum and because I stay home I can control the pace and filter the amount of junk I recieve or not!

As I sat , late into the night at my laptop, soaked in the presence of the Lord, pondering upon things of the day and tossing about with Jesus. I felt a sense of heaven overcome me again. God told me "praise opens heavens" and I was pleased each time I praise, something happens in the heavenlies. He is such an awesome awesome God.

... for the various upheavals throughout the day.
The heart of being in hope, of pining and wanting to close a chapter of my life,
2 or 3 months in wanting, of searching, praying, perceiving and confusion at times,
a sudden situation that reminded me of not being the favourite child
an anxious heart that weighs upon a matter, and
a memory of long time ago revived

I say I can't get enough of your presence, presence
I say I need the release of the fullness of your spirit, so I say, Shekinah Glory come!
I need more..... more ... more....

Where his presence dwells, there is freedom..
peace... strength... courage... hope...

Enjoy this amazingly gentle yet anointed worship. He reigns forever. Wait for Him.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I am picking up lots of vibes these days... sometimes it intoxicates me and I had to leave that room, or a page if I am online.  Let's say you were in a roomful of smokers even though you are the first to be in the room, you have the power to just l.e.a.v.e.

Restlessness can be a dangerous thing. Next to it is an addiction to restlessness. This article The Last State of the Man is Worse expounds this topic so well. A worthy read.

I won't attempt to re-write what restlessness is all about. All of us feels it to various degree. I am just curious to know if we could actually recognise it, so we could do something about it?

When my son comes to me and say "I'm bored". I tell him, whenever you feel this way, pray and ask the restless spirit to get lost and then go do something that is worthy, good and pleasing to the Lord.

This is the nation of extreme provision, information and yet people are restless, largely discontented and greedy. I felt grief that there is so little peace in a prosperous country. Restlessness comes in form of boredom, anxiety, fear and more specifically looks for the next high, the next novelty, the next sensation a person can possibly get to.  If money was not an issue, than money will get one there.
Be careful what our eyes see, where our feet goes, choose wisely what appetites are we immersing ourselves. One person puts it so wisely, "Our credit card reveals our preoccupation". You have the ability to leave, step out and say no when you feel that the shift in atmosphere is not helping your growth or advancing the kingdom or glorifying God in anyways. Leave. You have the power to do the right thing.

I absolutely think this song is a God sent in such a time as this, listen to the words in the song, "We are restless, until we find rest in him". Indeed, those who finds him, finds rest.

God gives rest to those he love. Get under the wing of the shadow of the most high and.... rest. Shalom!

Here's the great song by Audrey Assad - Restless

Publish Post

Sunday, May 06, 2012

I just got a hug from heaven

This week God did something different. He listened to my thoughts and ... answered them. I was pondering about life, about our home education and about my walk with our heavenly Father. I was giving thanks in the way I was experiencing him in our home education.

How do I put it? It is not about being Christ-centred in the way we learn or even topics in regards to knowing God.

I experienced a day when we were talking about "butterflies and insects" in mandarin. When we were out one day, just strolling by the sidewalk, two butterflies came our our way and the boys immediately played with the them. My elder boy then stretched out his hands and the little butterfly landed softly on his palm for a split second. That was priceless for my 5 year old. Then we saw an image of  a butterfly cast on a concrete, and then an image of a bee in the playground.  In speaking, we learn to speak and the boys had a blast identifying the creatures and naming them in mandarin.

I was particularly touched when God did that. Because in my lack of resources to teach the boys mandarin and with the limited understanding on how I can motivate them to love the language more, God showed up. And that experience stayed in my heart in a special way. I began to hunger to want to follow him, wherever he takes us on our home education journey. So when I heard this song yesterday, I just had to praise him. This song speaks of how joyful and how purposely our lives can be when we simply... follow.

The other thought I had was about how I can continually "host his presence" and then, the other day, I read that a new book by Bill Johnson, titled "Hosting the Presence" was released! You bet I was going to get that and learn to live it!  What a God we serve.  What love he has for his children ... he who listens to our thoughts and answers them.

Side note to parents: Our children will only follow us as we follow Christ.

Chris Tomlin - I will follow you

CHRIS TOMLIN - I Will Follow

Intro Chorus
Em                            C/E
     Where You go, I’ll go
Where You stay, I’ll stay
When You move, I’ll move
                       Em7, C2, G, D
I will follow…

Verse 1
C                         Em7
All Your ways are good
All Your ways are sure
         G        D/F#   C
I will trust in You alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
        G                  C
I will trust in You alone
In You alone

Em7                          C2
    Where You go, I'll go
Where You stay, I'll stay
When You move, I'll move
I will follow You
Em7                         C2
    Who You love, I'll love
How You serve I'll serve
                 D                       Em7, C2
If this life I lose, I will follow You
                   G   D                   
I will follow You

Verse 2
C                    Em7
Light unto the world
Light unto my life
        G          D      C
I will live for You alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
        G                C           D
All I need in You alone, in You alone

(Repeat Chorus)

C                  G          D
In You there's life everlasting
C                  G            D
In You there's freedom for my soul
C                  G           D      C        
In You there's joy, unending joy
G                D
and I will follow


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Introduction to Music

Since young, KB loves music more than anything he does, and I could resonate with him. I too love music and could not live without it. I reflected upon our 'musical journey'.

Babyhood - listening
Toddler - movement and listening, occasional instruments (drums, bells, percussion, triangle etc.)
Preschoolers - praise & worship, signing with singing, movement, solfege, intro note reading, rhythm, instruments

I wanted to inspire him on solfege and pulled out this incredibly inspirational clip. KB and I learnt this song when he was 3 years old, so its an old favourite, but this is way inspiring and fun and we can't help but wanna dance with it too.

Why is listening important?

KB at 4.5yrs old went for a simple interview to see if his fingers could curl and play last year. It seemed that he was and he played a single song under the instruction of a teacher. Even his last finger was able to tap on the keyboard nicely. He was happy when he came home and went to the keyboard to tinkle abit. I printed out the score for him and he played for daddy to hear.

But I didnt sign him up for that class. If looking at the score and learning to play is what he is doing now, when will he develop a ear for music? I decided that it is best to delay playing and learn to listen well. I know he has occassionally told me how sad or happy a music piece is, he is learning to listen with his heart, not just the rhythm, but the feel. My brother, a guitarist and drummer commented that KB has a good sense of rhythm.

And because music is a language of the heart, we really needed time to develop that. We need both technical aptitude and inspiration. In piano education a good ear and good sight reading are both important.

Character, character, character
I up the level of solfege training last week, just to see where he is. He was not so happy. He didn't want to do it when it comes to practise time. We were doing do-re-mi and I went all over to fa-so-re. A rather diffificult sequence to pitch if he hasn't gotten them in his heart. So we talked a little about tenacity and how Christ who enabled us. But I also scaled down and worked with him at his level.

Then I played "Jingle Bell" and "Twinkle twinkle little starts" today, and sang it all in solfege. And realised that Jingle Bell is the easier song as the melody only ranges from Do - So. So begins our journey in solfege singing.

I taught signing in solfege and that was fun, since he already signed actively during worship, but we'll see where it leads for now.

Various methods for teaching piano
I am no expert on the best methods, but here's a list for exploration. As with all things that a child learns, I work on inspiration, gifted-ness, readiness and best suited approach. Check this out.Piano Education.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

workboxes in!

This year, We start our 3 year old on light academics, still peppered with lots of play, while our almost 5 year old transit to doing some 'real' work. So we looked around for a system that facilitates independent learning so that I would not really be needed to sit with both kids at the same time. Sue Patrick's Workbox System was something we have been eyeing for some time and it was ready for implementation.

We got our workboxes from IKEA. Yes, it is cheaper but also because it is not completely 'boxed up', it gives us the flexibility to put a toy or a manipulative that is taller than the drawer or materials for craft that ain't really the size of the drawer. All we need to do is to shift it up or down a step. Easy!

The only problem is the transport. IKEA charges $60 for any amount of furniture we buy, and the frame does not fit into the car boot. But thanks to my mum, her friend helped transport it back for us via a truck.

Instead of the usual numbering , I added fruit of the spirit onto the number tags, so I could call out the fruit or the number. I printed and laminated each fruit in colour and the same fruit without colour, so its abit like shadow matching.

Velcro set is brought from Diaso. Any velcro set that is designed to hold wires together usually works, but I like the flap at the end of the velcro best. I cut each piece in half and stuck the one with the flap sticking out to the back of the coloured fruit tag. You have to be sure the other part is stuck to the frame.

Next I would work out which fruit goes to which child's drawer only because it would speak to them as I converse with them daily.

Once the child is finished with his activities/learnings, usually from the drawers top down. He would peal off the left fruit and stick it to the one on the right. That way, we all know that the work is done. He would let me mark it on the spot and chuck it into the big white drawer for me to collect at the end of the day. See how the flap at the end helps the child pull the tag out?

My almost 5 year old was a breeze to work with as it was easy for his nimble fingers to peal and paste and he usually enjoys independent work. Since he also work really quickly he enjoys going to the boxes himself while I can busy myself with the younger one. My 3 yr old needed some coaching on how to use the workboxes. Granted work boxes were not meant for little ones as they hardly have any academics to work on, and fairly little independent learning at this stage. But I still threw in puzzles and manipulatives for my 3 yr old to do, if I needed to spend time with the elder one. We have been using this for about two weeks and it worked perfectly for us. :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Benefits for Children of Play in nature

Benefits for Children of Play in Nature

By Randy White
The children's play gardens (naturalized playgrounds) that our company designs for clients emphasize a rich natural environment as the play setting and nature as the play element. Our designs are based upon an extensive body of research and literature on:
  • the significant benefits for children of regular play experiences in nature,
  • children's play preferences, and
  • the most effective designs to support children's development.
Following is a summary of the many benefits that regular play in nature has for children:
  • Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Taylor et al. 2001).
  • Children with views of and contact with nature score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. The greener, the better the scores (Wells 2000, Taylor et al. 2002).
  • Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often (Grahn, et al. 1997, Fjortoft & Sageie 2001).
  • When children play in natural environments, their play is more diverse with imaginative and creative play that fosters language and collaborative skills (Moore & Wong 1997, Taylor, et al. 1998, Fjortoft 2000).
  • Exposure to natural environments improves children's cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning and observational skills (Pyle 2002).
  • Nature buffers the impact of life's stresses on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits (Wells & Evans 2003).
  • Play in a diverse natural environment reduces or eliminates bullying (Malone & Tranter 2003).
  • Nature helps children develop powers of observation and creativity and instills a sense of peace and being at one with the world (Crain 2001).
  • Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder (Cobb 1977, Louv 1991). Wonder is an important motivator for life long learning (Wilson 1997).
  • Children who play in nature have more positive feelings about each other (Moore 1996).
  • Natural environments stimulate social interaction between children (Moore 1986, Bixler et al. 2002).
  • Outdoor environments are important to children's development of independence and autonomy (Bartlett 1996).
  • Play in outdoor environments stimulates all aspects of children development more readily than indoor environments (Moore & Wong 1997).
  • An affinity to and love of nature, along with a positive environmental ethic, grow out of regular contact with and play in the natural world during early childhood. Children's loss of regular contact with the natural world can result in a biophobic future generation not interested in preserving nature and its diversity (Bunting & Cousins 1985; Chawla 1988; Wilson 1993; Pyle 1993; Chipeniuk 1994; Sobel 1996, 2002 & 2004; Hart 1997; Wilson 1997, Kals et al. 1999; Moore & Cosco 2000; Fisman 2001; Kellert 2002; Bixler et al. 2002; Kals & Ittner 2003; Schultz et al. 2004).
"There's no way that we can help children to learn to love and preserve this planet, if we don't give them direct experiences with the miracles and blessings of nature."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Socialising - The Real World

Hated the cartoon - surely someone can do a better job, but loved the conversation!

Socialising - when you meet a stickler

Some people just don't get it, duh... or was that bad social etiquette?

Just chatting on healing

I was chatting with my almost 5yr old son today. He loves helping people. I believed he has a compassionate heart. I was given one too. Can't help it. All day long he talks about wanting to be in the "helping" professional. Doctors, paramedics, vet, fire fighter, police men and he qualifies that he wants to help others.

I remembered how I had wanted so badly to become a doctor when my sons were younger and fell ill. I had read every instruction on the medicine labels and instructional sheet (something I will never do, I don't read instructions. Period.) Then I will go on the internet and have each component/ingredient checked out. I could list some cold medicines, tell the difference and tell you why some works and some don't. Deep inside I just wished I was a doctor. But then, I have neither the brains nor the giftings to be one.

When God gifted me the gift of healing, I was overjoyed. I was able to minister to others and loved ones with God! I was so so grateful to be partnering the greatest Healer of all. This is grace, because I don't actually have the knowledge, but God does and he knows.

Recently I prayed for my mother in law who has had back pain for several months. After prayer, she was able to turn around without pain. She told us she is 60% better. I was happy for her. I love praying for the sick.

So when my son tells me that he wants to be a paramedic or a vet, I know God hears his utterance. God would use him the way he has gifted him. I like that my sons know that I go to the Healing Rooms to pray for the sick people.

The lives that we live is purposed though the gifts we give. I just really want to pass this on.

Right now, I am loving a very brand new book sitting on my desk. A more excellent way - Henry Wright. May God touch many more so that they know His ultimate love.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Our God is Greater - Chris Tomlin

When I sang this song in church, God impressed upon my heart. Deep inside everyone, there is a desire for someone to back them up, to say "well done", to stand for them.

Often times people fall into the trap of comparing and coveting. From insecurity comes fear. So people strive and try harder and harder to please men or to work their way up to others' standard to satisfy their fear.

But God would say in this song "I am greater, stronger, higher than any other, the healer, awesome in power. If I am for you, then who could stop you, if I with you, then what could stand against?"

Points people back to God, back to who he really is, back to trusting him, not others, not ourselves. Perhaps pleasing others is not hard thing to do, it is to quit pleasing ourselves; thinking we could work harder to prove ourselves better.

God loves you. He would open your eyes to see. Then you would be able to trust him and know that he is for you - no matter how small you feel or how big others look like. God alone is greater, stronger, higher and he is for you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Major blindspots of homeschoolers

Some time ago, I shared this article. But I forgot to have it posted so more can read it. As I journeyed deeper into parenting, the very foundation for every family is raising kids, but a foundation should never become the only and entire goal.

Last night, before my sons went to bed, I whispered in their ears "Mummy loves you and God loves you whether you are naughty or nice..." And that was the balanced theology we sneaked in before bedtime.

Balance - a simple word that rings true in every facet of our lives. Here are a list of blindspots that were helpful reminders.

The entire article can be found here Family Ministries

Excerpts found here Josh Harris

I read the following article by Reb Bradley in the Virginia Home Educator Magazine and was challenged by it. I appreciate Mr. Bradley's humility in admitting mistakes he's made as a dad. I see some of these tendencies in my own life and many of the observations he makes line-up with things that God has been teaching our church recently. Whether or not you homeschool, I'd encourage you to read this article prayerfully and ask the Holy Spirit to help you examine your motives in your parenting.
Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers by Reb Bradley
In the last couple of years, I have heard from multitudes of troubled homeschool parents around the country, a good many of whom were leaders. These parents have graduated their first batch of kids, only to discover that their children didn't turn out the way they thought they would. Many of these children were model homeschoolers while growing up, but sometime after their 18th birthday they began to reveal that they didn't hold to their parents' values.
Some of these young people grew up and left home in defiance of their parents. Others got married against their parents' wishes, and still others got involved with drugs, alcohol, and immorality. I have even heard of several exemplary young men who no longer even believe in God. My own adult children have gone through struggles I never guessed they would face.
Most of these parents remain stunned by their children's choices, because they were fully confident their approach to parenting was going to prevent any such rebellion.
After several years of examining what went wrong in our own home and in the homes of so many conscientious parents, God has opened our eyes to a number of critical blind spots common to homeschoolers and other family-minded people.
1. Having Self-Centered Dreams
The reason that our dreams for our children are so vulnerable to crashing is because they are our dreams, imposed on our own children. As homeschool parents we make great sacrifices and invest a great deal to influence how our children turn out. The problem is that love for children can be lost in love for personal success as a parent. Our concern for ourselves ends up overshadowing our love for our children.
When my oldest son was 18 he developed habits of disrespectful communication and I had to ask him to leave my home for a season. Needless to say, my wife and I were devastated by the discipline we imposed. In the first month he was gone we wept each day for him. We were grieved that he was now unprotected from the junk from which we had worked so hard to shelter him, but more than that, I was heartbroken that my dreams for him and our family would no longer come true. I remember speaking the words to him - "Son, you've ruined my dreams." You see, I had a dream for my family and it involved adult children who lived at home humbly under parental authority, and who would one day leave home to marry, after following my carefully orchestrated courtship process. But now, my son had gone and "messed up" my perfect dream. Nothing is wrong with dreaming of good things for your children, but the truth was, my dream for my son was mostly about me.
In hindsight, what was particularly grievous was that I was more worried about the failure of my dream of "success" than the fact that my son and I had a broken relationship. Although he did come back and was restored to us 4 months later, it still took me years to realize that I had contributed to the damaged relationship.
It is only natural for parents to have high hopes and dreams for their children. However, when we begin to see our children as a reflection or validation of us, we become the center of our dreams, and the children become our source of significance. When that happens in our home it affects the way we relate with our children, and subtly breaks down relationship.
2. Raising Family as an Idol
When we allow the success of our family to determine our security or sense of wellbeing we are seeking from it something God intends us to receive from Him. I am describing idolatry. If homeschoolers are not careful, family can easily become an idol.
At times in their history the Israelites worshipped idols. They didn't always forsake worship of the living God - they merely served other gods with Him. Sometimes they simply made an idol of something good. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they elevated issues of holiness higher than the very God who declared them holy (Mat 12:1-8; 23:24). An idol is anything other than God in which we seek security and fulfillment. It may be something biblical or good, but if it has the power to determine our wellbeing, we have elevated it higher than God meant for us. As those who are devoted to our families, and therefore invest a great deal of time, energy, and heart, it is easy to elevate the family too high.
A great problem with idolatry is that idols require sacrifice, and we end up sacrificing relationship with our children for the idol of the family. When we elevate the image of the family, we effectively trade our children's hearts for our reputation.
3. Emphasizing Outward Form
Preoccupation with results often leads to emphasis on outward form. When we are preoccupied with achieving results it is natural to admire the results others seem to have achieved with their children. We like the way the pastor's kids sit reverently in the front pew and take notes of their father's sermon, so we go home and begin to teach our children to sit reverently and to take notes. What we don't know is that the pastor's kids conduct themselves with reverence and attentiveness not because he "cleaned the outside of the cup" and simply drilled them to do so -- he lived a genuine love for Jesus that was contagious, and watched as the fruit was born (Matt 23:26). Parents are destined for disappointment when they admire fruit in others and seek to emulate merely that expression of fruit in their own children. Fruit is born from the inside -- not applied to the outside.
Imagine that the fruit you desired was the edible variety, so you went out into your yard and planted an apple tree. Just suppose that one day, while you were waiting for the apples to begin growing on your tree, you caught a glimpse of a neighbor's apple tree. You noticed in admiration that its branches were laden with big, luscious apples. What would you do? Would you run to the produce market to buy some apples, then go home, and in the dead of night, tie them onto your tree? If you did, the sight of your tree might really impress your neighbors. But that is not what you would do. You would likely go to the neighbor and ask how he cared for and fertilized his tree to produce such fruit. It is the same with our children - luscious fruit will be born from what we put into them - not from what we tie onto them. As a matter of fact, in no time, the fruit that we put onto our children will rot and fall off.
In the homeschool community I have observed that there can be a great emphasis on outward appearance, whether it is dressing for excellence, modesty, grooming, respectful manners, music style, or an attitude of sober reverence in worship. Some even take their children down a country path of humble fashions, raising food, and making bread. Nothing is wrong with any of these things, but we must be careful - we can model for our children outward changes and easily fall into molding their behavior and/or appearance, while missing their hearts. In some circles emphasis on the outward is epidemic.
A friend of mine, a homeschool mom, just passed away of cancer. In the week before she died, I asked her if she had any regrets in her life. She told me she wished she had baked less bread - she said if she had it to do over again she would buy bread and spend more time with her children. She had invested time and energy in pursuing the "path" because she thought it was part of the spiritual homeschool package.
Let us not forget that Jesus came against the Pharisees for their preoccupation with what they felt were legitimate expressions of spirituality. They measured holiness by what was avoided and by what would be seen by others (Mat 6:1-2, 5, 16; 23:5-6, 23-28; John 7:24). The Pharisees were earnest in their religion, but they were preoccupied with outward expressions of holiness rather than hearts of humility and love (Micah 6:8) that would bear genuine fruit. I find it fascinating that in the gospels there is not one mention of Jesus coming against immodesty, even though among his followers were prostitutes and the like. Jesus emphasized cleaning up the inside while the Pharisees were the ones preoccupied with cleaning up the outside. We must ask ourselves: Which are we more like - Jesus or the Pharisees? Even now do we justify ourselves, insisting we emphasize cleaning up both the inside and the outside?
I know that some react strongly to these assertions, so let me emphasize that I do want my wife and daughters to adorn themselves modestly. God did address it once in the New Testament (1Tim 2:9), but we must ask ourselves, is it possible that we have elevated modesty, or other issues of outward form, higher than Jesus did? If he only mentioned modesty once in the epistles and never mentioned it in his earthly ministry, but instead emphasized the importance of a changed heart bearing outward fruit, should we not follow his example and concentrate on reaching our children's hearts? Because He did address it in the first epistle to Timothy, let us teach our children the value of keeping private that which should be, but let us be careful of thinking that just because they look moral on the outside that they have God's values on the inside. Concurrently, let us also be careful of measuring everyone else's enlightenment by what we have decided is modest, spiritual, or holy.
4. Tending to Judge
In setting standards for our family, each of us must work through a process of evaluation and analysis to decide what is safe, wise, or permissible. Once we become convinced of our personal standards, not uncommonly, it follows that we believe they should apply to others as well.
The Pharisees belittled others who didn't hold to their standards. We have gone their way when we judge others. It is easy to miss this area of pride because we may not express our judgments "arrogantly"; we may instead wrap them in compassionate-sounding words. Arrogance wrapped in concerned tones is deceiving.
Pride is so deceptive that we won't know our judgments are even judgments. We will think we are just making observations and feeling pity, when in fact, we are looking down on others from our lofty place of confident enlightenment. It is a high view of ourselves that allows us to condescend to and belittle others in our mind. And if you already knew all this, be careful - pride will even cause us to be amazed that others didn't see what was so obvious to us.
Typically, when we belittle others who don't measure up to our standards, we will also imagine others are judging us. Consequently, we will find ourselves frequently being defensive. We assume that others will think lowly of us for some perceived inadequacy, so we offer unsolicited explanations and clarifications for us or our children. For example, let's say we walked past a TV at Sears and saw something of interest - when we tell others what we saw, we are careful to clarify that we saw it at Sears and weren't watching a TV at home. If we live under fear of judgment, not only will we tend to be on the defensive, but whenever we are in a public setting where our children might be "watched," we will put pressure on them.
When pride is working its work in us, we sincerely believe our personal opinions reflect God's utmost priorities and standards. What we believe to be our "enlightened" perspective becomes a filter by which we gauge others' spirituality, and therefore limits our options for fellowship. We develop a very narrow definition of what we call "likeminded" people, based on the outworkings of our values and opinions. Now we are on a path to exclusivity when we will no longer associate with those who will be with us in eternity. Is it possible we have lost sight of fellowship based on love and devotion to Jesus, and have substituted personal standards and a narrow view of Christian liberty?
There are several serious consequences of raising children in a home marked by pride and judgment. Children may grow up also judging others. Or, they may hide their real values, acting as though they embrace our values, when, in fact, they are simply seeking to avoid discipline and lectures at home. Or, they may see the shallowness of our legalistic faith that consists primarily of "avoid this, wear that, attend this," and not be attracted to it in the least.
5. Depending on Formulas
Homeschool parents often take a formulaic approach to parenting. Committed to achieving results with our children, we look for formulas and principles to ensure our success. Knowing the Bible is full of the wisdom and promises of God, we look to it for its self-working principles and promised methods. Yet, there's a problem with that. We are commanded to trust in God, not in formulas (John 14:1; Ps 37:5; 62:8). There is a monumental difference.
Trust in formulas is really dependence upon ourselves to carry out a procedure correctly. But anyone who really understands the grace of the gospel knows that we cannot take personal credit for any spiritual accomplishments. We are totally God's workmanship (Eph 2:10; Phil 2:13; 1:6) and everything good in our lives is a gift from Him (James 1:17). We can do absolutely nothing by ourselves for which we can take credit (Eph 2:8-9; Gal 6:14; Rom 4:2; 1 Cor 1:28-31; 2 Cor 11:30). Yet many of us lean toward a formulaic mentality, because our fallen natures are drawn toward self-reliance. We want to feel that by our own efforts (works) we have achieved something that will make us acceptable to God - by nature we are legalistic.
God doesn't want us to trust in principles, methods, or formulas, no matter how "biblical" they seem. God wants us to trust in HIM!
6. Over-Dependence on Authority and Control.
Fruitful training of children and roses require a goal, a plan, and diligence in labor. However, the difference is that roses have no mind of their own and only grow as they are allowed. Children are people--self-determining individuals--and they ultimately choose how they will respond to parental influence.
No amount of parental control or restriction will guarantee that a child will turn out exactly as directed. Obviously, our training increases the likelihood our children will cling to the faith when they reach maturity, or turn back to Christ if they do enter a season of rebellion, but our training does not guarantee the desired outcome.
I know that some will struggle with the assertion that parents do not have total control over the outcome of their parenting, because of Proverbs 22:6. And I would have struggled too, ten years ago, but upon examination of the passage in question, I am convinced that it is a verse meant as an admonition of wisdom, not as a promise and guarantee of outcome. Like many of the sayings in Proverbs it is written as a statement of probability and not as a promise.
Solomon set for us a great example of balanced parenting - he admonished his young adult children and gave them commandments, but he knew that for them to honor his commands he needed their hearts. That's why he said, "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways" (Prov 23:26). The apostle Paul knew how much he needed the hearts of those he exhorted, and therefore told them "... although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I appeal to you on the basis of love..." (Phile 1:8-9).
If we are to have significant influence of our teenage children we must have their hearts. Winning their hearts means gaining the opportunity to influence who they are, not just what they do.
7. Over-Reliance Upon Sheltering
An over-dependence on control in a family is often accompanied by an over-reliance on sheltering of children. It is not uncommon for homeschool parents to feel that since they filter whatever their children see and hear, they will control the results in their lives. That was me for many years. I remember saying to people, "I am controlling the influences in my children's lives, so I am going to control the outcome." I was absolutely certain that my children would be exempted from significant temptation and from developing particular bad habits because I was controlling what touched their lives.
In the last five years I have heard countless reports of highly sheltered homeschool children who grew up and abandoned their parents' values. Some of these children were never allowed out of their parents' sight and were not permitted to be in any kind of group setting, even with other "like-minded" kids, yet they still managed to develop an appetite for the world's pleasures. While I've seen sheltered children grow up and turn away from their parents' standards, conversely, I've known some Christian young people who went to public school, watched TV, attended youth groups, and dated, yet they walk in purity, have respectful, loving relationships with their parents, and now enjoy good marriages. Their parents broke the all the "rules of sheltering," yet these kids grew up close to their families and resilient in their walks with Christ.
Protecting from temptations and corrupting influences is part of raising children. Every parent shelters to one degree or another. All parents shelter - they just draw their lines in different places.Protecting our children is not only a natural response of paternal love, but fulfills the commands of God. The Scriptures are clear that we are to make no provision for our flesh (Rom 13:14) and are to avoid all corrupting influences (2 Cor 6:17-7:1). It warns us that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33) and that those who spend too much time with bad people may learn their ways (Prov 22:24-25) and suffer for it (Prov 13:20). Just as our Father in heaven will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13), we rightly keep our children out of situations they will lack the moral strength to handle. Young children are weak and we are to protect the weak (1 Thes 5:12).
God understood the vulnerability of human nature when he gave the Israelites instructions before they entered the Promised Land. He told them to chase out the idol-worshipping Pagans in the land, lest His people associate with them and be drawn into idolatry (Ex 23:32-33; Num 33:51-56; Josh 23:7-13). The Israelites disregarded God's protective warning and allowed some Pagans to remain in the land. Subsequently, each successive generation of young people was lost to idolatry. God instructed them to shelter their families, but their neglect of His warnings brought pain to their children and to their grandchildren for many generations.
However, we are imbalanced when sheltering from harm is the predominant expression of our parenting. Sheltering is a critical part of parenting, but if parents keep it their primary focus, the children will grow up ill equipped to handle the temptations in the world.A child isolated from disease may appear to be of the greatest health to his parents, but the health of the human body is only proven by how it withstands an attack. A weak constitution succumbs to every germ and virus - a strong one fights them off. Our spiritual and moral health is developed and proved in the same way.
If we isolate our kids from the world until they are adults they may appear to us to be spiritually minded and strong in character. However, it is how they ultimately engage the world that proves their spiritual resilience. This is because sheltering does not transform the human heart - it merely preserves it, temporarily.
It is true that a boxer trains without an opponent until his coach decides he is ready for an actual fight. And it is true that a farmer might raise plants in a greenhouse until they are mature enough to be transplanted and face the various elements of nature. So also, we keep our children away from bad influences when they are young and need to grow unhindered in character and spiritual wisdom. The problem is that sheltering without significant preparation to engage the world fails to equip them. In fact, it may insure that they will fall in their first solo encounters.
Growing up isolated from temptation can develop a child who appears spiritually strong, but the appearance is not reality. When I was in college I moved to northern California to live for a summer in a Christian commune. I was somewhat isolated from the world and surrounded by an amazing support system of my fellow "Jesus people." I remember feeling so full of faith, so committed to holiness, and so in love with God that summer. However, the "spirituality" I felt and the level of holiness I achieved was not real and could not endure testing. At the end of summer I returned to college in Southern California and discovered that I had not developed true spiritual muscles - when faced with temptation I fell flat on my face every time. The communal environment, isolated from significant temptation, had not prepared me for the battle I would face in the world. Valid spiritual growth required that I face temptation and develop the capacity to resist it, which eventually I did. My isolation from temptation had left me like a boxer who had shadow boxed, trained rigorously, and looked good in his trunks, but had never faced a sparring partner, let alone a true opponent.
I believe that a primary reason we over-rely on sheltering is because it is easy. It requires no planning or expenditure of energy. It takes minimal immediate brainpower. we simply assess that something might be harmful and say to our children, "No." I don't know if I would go so far as to call it lazy parenting, but I will say that investing in our children takes a lot more work and a lot more time.
8. Not Passing On a Pure Faith
We've all heard it said that faith is caught and not taught. The Galatian church polluted their faith by seeking to make themselves acceptable to God with what they did or didn't do" (Gal 3:3). In the same way, we may have started off years ago with a simple, undefiled faith, but the more we got caught up in all the "works" of intense parenting, the more we moved away from a simple faith contagious to our children. It is critical for our sake, let alone for our children, that we enjoy a life-giving faith in Christ with no religious trappings added to it.
As I look back, I see that with my older children I was too concerned with how they were perceived by others. I saw their behavior as a reflection on me, and I wanted to look good. They, therefore, sensed in me a measure of pretentiousness--not the genuineness of faith that would have drawn them to me or to the Jesus I spoke about. My sincere concern for their character was overshadowed by my concern for my reputation. I have discovered that, like me, multitudes of parents want their children's hearts but live a faith that fails to completely attract them.
9. Not Cultivating a Loving Relationship With Our Children
Relationships between parents and teens are weakest in control-oriented homes. Bev and I treated our children as if they were "projects." The more they became projects, the less we had significant relationship. The less we had relationship, the more we lost their hearts. Without their hearts, the less we were able to influence them or their values. We regularly spent hour coaching and admonishing them during the teen years, not realizing that without their hearts, the best we could do was make more rules and devise new consequences. The consequences affected the outside, but not the inside.
Our Story
When my oldest son was almost 16 we let him get his first job washing dishes at a restaurant managed by a Christian friend of ours. As diehard shelterers we wrestled with whether or not our son was ready to enter the world's workforce. We knew we couldn't shelter him forever, and so finally concluded that he should be old enough to send into the world two nights a week. What we didn't realize was that he would be working with drug-using, tattooed, partiers, and our Christian friend was never scheduled to work our son's shift.
Within a month it became apparent that our son's new work associates were having an effect on him. He came home one evening and asked, "Dad, can I dye my hair blue?" After my wife was finally able to peal me off the ceiling, I laid into him, reminding him whose son he was, and that I would not have people at church telling their children not to be like the pastor's son. I explained that just because he wanted to use washable dye, it didn't make me any happier. (Note that my intense reaction had to do with "outward appearances" and the impact on me.)
Of course, my wife and I immediately began to evaluate whether we had made a mistake by letting him take the job. After an intense discussion we decided to coach him more carefully and let him keep his job.
Two months later he came home from work and asked me if he could pierce his ear. Again, my wife had to peal me off the ceiling. He thought it might be okay since he wanted a cross earring -- like I was supposed to be happy, because it would be a "sanctified" piercing. If that wasn't enough, he also wanted to get a tattoo! But it was going to be okay, because it would be a Christian tattoo!
As I was looking back on this experience several years later, something my son said shortly after he started his job kept coming back to me. When I picked him up the second night of work, he got in the car with a big smile on his face and said "They like me!" As I dwelt on that comment, it suddenly came clear to me - my son had finally met someone who liked him for who he was. Few others in his entire life had shown him much acceptance, especially not his mother and I. It is no exaggeration - in our efforts to shape and improve him, all we did was find fault with everything he did. We loved him dearly, but he constantly heard from us that what he did (who he was) wasn't good enough. He craved our approval, but we couldn't be pleased. Years later, I realized he had given up trying to please us when he was 14, and from then on he was just patronizing us.
The reason our son wanted to adorn himself like his work associates, was because they accepted him for who he was. He wanted to fit in with those who made him feel significant. He wanted to be like those who gave him a sense of identity. The problem wasn't one that could be solved by extended sheltering - he could have been sheltered until he was 30 and he still would have been vulnerable. The problem was that we had sent our son into the world insecure in who he was. He went into the world with a hole in his heart that God had wanted to fill through his parents.
Whether believer or unbeliever, those young people who are least tempted to follow the crowd are those who are secure in themselves and don't need the approval of others. The Bible calls insecurity the fear of man - it is allowing other's opinions of us to affect our values and choices.
The Solution
In the Bible we see that people obeyed God for two reasons - fear and love. King David sang of his love for God (Ps 18:1; 116:1; 119:159) and he also sang of the fear of God (Ps 2:11; 22:25; 33:8). God wants His followers to be drawn to Him out of love (Jer 31:3), and that's why it is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). But He also wants us to be kept on the path by fear of His authority (Luke 12:5; 1 Pet 2:17). That's why He told the Israelites He wanted both their fear and their love; "And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut 10:12). With our children, it should be the same.
Those who have the most power to influence our hearts are those to whom we are drawn: those who succeed with our values (which is what a hero is), those who can benefit us, those who make us feel valuable, and those who have earned our respect.
If our children grow up motivated only by fear of consequence, they will eventually get away with what they can whenever we are not around (Eph 6:6). If we have their hearts they will seek to honor us whether we are present or not, and their hearts will remain open to our influence.
I refer you to the apostle Paul who modeled this approach to leadership perfectly, "Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love..." (Phile 1:8-9a). Paul's pattern with the churches suggests he understood that appeals to love were more powerful than commands and threats.
I am convinced that the most contagious parenting is living a heartfelt faith before your children. Fruitful interaction is not about what you do to your young people, but who you are with them. It's about having a real faith in God, and expressing it in a real relationship with a real person--not about methods and self-working principles. God intends that the side-effect of loving Jesus and enjoying the grace of the gospel will be that all people--including our children--will be touched by the Savior in us. I pray in Jesus' name that as you read these words you will experience the grace of God in a fresh and new way.
Reb Bradley is a writer and national conference speaker. Read the complete article from which this excerpt was taken here. Visit to order Reb's CD set Influencing Children's Hearts.
Reprinted with permission from The Virginia Home Educator, Fall 2011.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Homeschooling is a lifestyle

We had dabbled in homeschooling for about 2 or 3 years now. This year we transit into fully homeschooling our two boys.

For us, homeschooling is not about choosing the best curriculum or get our hands on all the variety of materials. There could be all the best stuff out there but we are still not teaching out kids to be.

We are not into accumulating nor are we trying to get as much done as we possibly can; we are not hot-housing our kids, nor are we bring the school home. Homeschooling to us, is a lifestyle.

Chinese New Year is round the corner. My 4.5 year old is asking me why is everything red in colour. Its a good question, simple enough, but one that a Bible believing parent ought to weigh out religious overtones.

I thought for a moment and said "Chinese who do not worship our Lord, Jesus Christ believes that red stands for good luck". He understood that we do not believe in luck.

But it is often when our friends wish us good luck that we learn to be gracious in accepting what they give. We learn that when others give us good things with good intention, we say thank you even though we may not like it, or do not partake in the same belief. We may not recieve it into our lives, but we ought to be polite. Today we are talking about "luck" and "food".

We walked through Chinatown recently as we always do yearly around Chinese New Year period. My son commented that others are worshipping the idols. We use these terms as it is, but we had to teach that he be gentle when he say that. Some people may find it offensive so we speak softly. I said "Because others who do not share the same beliefs may misunderstand us, so we try to care for how they feel. Even though we are different, we still love the people like Jesus love them."

This Chinese New Year, we learnt to love others who are different and learn to be a chinese who is a christian. All other traditions are easily found in textbooks abound, but homeschooling, it is really a lifestyle. And why not, we will be making lanterns craft and decorating our house! The doing is usually the easiest part. Living in the age of information overload, there are all sorts of fancy resources to suit ones liking.

How not to choose a good cultural story book?

My First Chinese New Year by Katz karen introduces readers to the traditions and importance of this holiday in China with My First Chinese New Year. "Red means good luck and happiness in China" reads the text, as mother and child hang patterned red tissues for decoration. The girl narrator "sweep[s] away the bad luck from last year" with her younger sister and makes an altar "to honor our ancestors" with her grandfather, among other activities sure to inspire readers and their kin. The family enjoying a banquet and a colorful parade round out the fun

I had chosen not to read this book this year because I think not all spiritual matters are quite as easily understood by a 4 year old. Ancestral worship goes into familiar spirits and the likes and it is important that we understand it correctly to explain it at their level.

Recommended good reads for Chinese New Year?
1. A New Year's Reunion by Li Qiong Yu is a great read - English & Mandarin version. Suitable for aged 5-8yr old. It talks about the importance of family.
Little Maomao s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away and shows how a family s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.

Nian the New Year Monster by TaoShu. Suitable for 3-5yr olds.
Nian is a legend. A legend is a fictitious story. Since this year is the year of dragon, this book is suitable to explain away about dragons. We are also including a segment on what the Bible says about the dragon. I like Tao Shu series because there are many elements in Chinese Culture that we could talk about to adopt or not. So this provides an excellent platform for our 5yr old in the understanding of how we can walk as a Chinese yet a Christ Follower.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Blog: Oak Tree Baby

Dear Friends,
My new blog is finally almost ready, but you could already pop over to take a peek. That's what friends are for, my blog and I are work in progress, so we don't need to be perfect to be able to share. Come on over to Oak Tree Baby!

That is where I will be sharing all the parenting experiences and stories. And in this new blog, I would be looking for YOUR stories too. Parenting is tough and there are those who triumph over tough situations. So I would be looking out for those to feature on my blog because these are the type of stories that help others go on. So if you have something worthy, please don't be shy, tell me!!!

Another exciting thing this new blog offers is shopping! You would see childrens toys, accessories and character building resources for you and your family. Everything related to parenting and play would be housed under 1 roof. How neat is that? :)

Sharon's Lavender Courtyard would remain my journal where I will continue to share knick knacks of sorts. Messy, free, spontaneous, crazy, passionate stuff that I care for deeply daily. Do stop by to say hi here or at Oak Tree Baby okie? And, if you like my new blog and Oak Tree Baby/Face Book , tell others about it and let me know. I would love thank you personally. *wink*

Love always,