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Modern Missionary Mamas

Because Christ is our all in all, all over the world.

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MMM Podcast Episode 2: International Travel with Small Children

Here’s how to listen:

-Right in this post! Just click play. You can also download it from here. (Amazing, eh? I know your internet stinks, mamas; I’ve got your back.)

-On Soundcloud. They have a nice app for your phone and if you add to a playlist or a station, you’ll always see when a new one’s posted (I think). And please, if you like it, hit like and share it! Let’s spread the word.

And if you’ve got more questions for me, don’t miss out on our first Twitter chat! Here’s the post on that, in case you missed it. 

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#Momhack: Kids sitting through church

#MOMHACK

One of the ways I keep my kids happy in church is books. But I found that if I brought books with words in them, they always wanted me to read them. So the solution was…wordless books! And if you can, get actual paper books; it hasn’t worked well to take the tablet with us, as they inevitably want to play games instead of read.

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This is one of our favorites. It’s about flying frogs. David Wiesner has also written a book called Flotsam about a boy who finds a camera that took pictures underwater of hidden worlds. And a more recent offering is Free Fall about a boy’s magical dreams, and it was a Caldecott Honor book. (Caldecott is an award for excellence in illustrations…you can see an example of the medal in the picture above.)

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One book that has a more spiritual aspect is Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier.

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This one has some humor that older kids will pick up on, like how there’s two rabbits when they get on and about 100 when they get off. 🙂 His illustrations are very thought-provoking with some beautiful details.

When my littles were little-little, they also loved Good Dog, Carl. The mom goes out (!!) leaving the dog in charge (?!), and he has to keep the little girl from getting into trouble (…?!!?!?). Ok, so the premise is a little “old-school,” but it’s pretty cute. But also, don’t do any play dates at Alexandra Day’s house, mmkay?

I haven’t read this one, but it’s going on my Christmas list…to quote from someone who’s read it, “Two stories and two cultures are told simultaneously in one book. The stories appear side by side as the reader turns the pages at the same time. Mirror follows a typical day of two boys on opposite sides of the world. The stories take place in Sydney, Australia, and Morocco, North Africa.” Amazing, right?

And last but DEFINITELY not least, if you need a wordless book for an older kid who’s struggling with reading, I highly recommend The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

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Mamas, I got this book from the library on furlough, and I stayed up until midnight reading it. I’m usually asleep by 10:00…and y’all know how precious sleep is. It’s that good. And third culture kids will really connect with the story of a man entering a culture that seems completely foreign to him for the sake of his family. It’s so true to the emotions of moving to a new place, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

And apparently, I have good taste, because all the books I recommended are also on this list of Reading Rockets’ Favorite Wordless Picture Books. 

Note: I put in a bunch of links. That’s just for your convenience. I don’t profit in any way, so buy them wherever you want. 🙂

Maybe now we can get through worship without having to step out, eh? You’ve got this, mamas.

Monday Meme

…especially true when parenting TCK’s!

What I Wish I Knew Before Teaching Abroad

http://www.aainafrica.com/knew-teaching-abroad-namibia-africa/

One thing I’ve noticed is that people think teaching is easy. And maybe it is for some people…but for many of us, things like classroom management and bonding with students must be taught. Loved this gal’s perspective on teaching abroad, especially her teachable spirit to glean from local teachers. That’s success right there.

 

MMM Podcast Episode 1: Ministry’s Changing Seasons with Liz Schandorff, Haiti

It’s time, mamas. You’ve been patient. Six of you asked for it, and boy, have we answered. Here’s how to listen:

-Right in this post! Just click play. You can also download it from here. (Amazing, eh? I know your internet stinks, mamas; I’ve got your back.)

-On Soundcloud. They have a nice app for your phone and if you add to a playlist or a station, you’ll always see when a new one’s posted (I think). And please, if you like it, hit like and share it! Let’s spread the word.

Note: I’m not seeing a way to download it from the app…weird. Sorry.

How to get a lego out of your kid’s nose…

Okay, so E is always sticking stuff up her nose, so I know it’s just a matter of time before I use this trick. Also, we’re overseas, so it’s harder to get to medical care…and frankly, I just thought this was genius. So enjoy Georgia and her ill-fated nose incident!

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2017/08/georgias-managed-to-get-an-orange-pip-stuck-up-her-nose.html

 

Scrapbooks Not Required

Mamas, meet my friend Tina. We were in Bible study together here in Haiti, and her words have spoken comfort to my soul for many years now. And now, she’s graciously agreed to share some wisdom with you, too! Enjoy. 

When we came home for a year between stints in Niger, West Africa, I went to my best friend’s house where she showed me the beautifully detailed scrapbooks of her two girls. Each page had typical American experiences including July 4th parties, dressing up, T-ball, church retreats. Being a world away from enhancing your child’s memories with coordinated stickers, I started to feel weirdly disconnected until I started to cry. My poor friend was wondering what kind of strange I’d turned into when I blurted out, “My kids will NEVER have those kinds of experiences!”

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I thought about how hard it was just to get their clothes clean, how they had no idea about movies and concerts their stateside peers were watching, and the fact that instead of neat uniforms and baseball leagues, they played soccer with a duct-taped flat ball in the street.  Their Wodaabe peers were finding wives at 14 and their missionary kid friends were just as clueless about the states as they were.  My children were in a “youth group” made up of maybe 10 people ranging from 6-18 and I remember their Sunday nights together involving games of Sardines.

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Would they ever be able to make it back in the States? Would they be impossibly out of touch?  Had I failed them?

My friend said something suitably comforting, and I moved on, but still struggled with doubts about our move to the Sahara with three sweet kids, and then later, to Haiti with my youngest, a girl of fourteen at the time.

The typical comment most missionaries say is, “They have a much richer life and perspective.  They will thank you for the differences later.”  I can agree with this, but like everything, it’s more complicated.  Sometimes, they felt isolated and didn’t understand why certain things were so important. “Why does it matter if I wear shoes here? I don’t understand why people won’t just say what they mean. Who cares if my pants are this length? What’s funny to them isn’t funny to me.”

Sometimes they felt superior or inferior or just weird. Helping them through that wasn’t always fun. Again, doubts. Did we let them down?

Fast forward to three married kids, one with his own children. The long view back over the years is a luxury I don’t take lightly.

My overwhelming sense now is simply that God helped them. He brought people along who taught them how to make the culture leap, interpreters and patient friends who could bridge the gap. He gave them a groundedness and faith that was vibrant enough to withstand the isolation. They became very insightful about American culture and good at navigating it while holding on to their early experiences.  And they became good friends to each other and to us.  And they DID end up able to enjoy July 4th celebrations, league baseball and dances.

The same one who called us, called and sustained our kids. As they allowed Him to direct and love them, they grew into beautiful whole people. I think about those days as a young mom and wish I could have patted my hand and said, “It’s truly going to be alright, scrapbooks or not.”

Consider your hand patted, mamas. Mine included. 

Summer Reading Challenge for Kids – The Letters of Literacy

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http://thelettersofliteracy.com/summer-reading-challenge-kids/

The “summer slide” is real, mamas; and no, I’m not talking about slip’n’slides. The brain that doesn’t use what it learns tosses it faster than a laundry basket with a lizard in it. Keep them reading–all summer!

You’ve got this, mamas.

Even if…

When Easter (1)

Even if your kids don’t have new clothes or hats…

Even if you can’t hide real eggs because they’d start to turn immediately in the heat…

Even if the Cadberry mini-eggs arrived pulverized and melted…

(please, a moment of the silence for the chocolate…) 

You can celebrate the resurrected Son. You are celebrating him daily in how you care for your family; your life bears witness. But on this day, take a note from Jewish tradition and just do something–anything–different.

I was reading about Passover, and it was interesting to hear that the youngest child is supposed to ask what’s so different about this night. Because we don’t normally munch on bitter herbs, right? And the order of the meal is different, because the celebration is different. I know holidays outside our home culture can be hard, but there are so many ways to make this night different from all others. Just putting a tablecloth on the table can be enough (assuming you’re lazy like me and don’t usually use one). You don’t have to spend extra money if you don’t have it: cook breakfast for dinner or have a random smorgasbord of everyone’s favorite food. I love Barbara Reiney’s idea of simply putting a stuffed lamb on the table to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice. Pick flowers from your yard. Eat outside. But do something to mark the day he rose for you. Make sure they know it’s different; it’s not like every other day. This day, we stop and remember.

Oh, you’re so deeply loved, mama. He sighs over you. He delights to bless you. You are righteous by the blood of his beloved son and perfect in His sight…even if your meal doesn’t contain ham. Don’t stress the small stuff.

Oh, and just because it’s Friday (and a Good one at that), here’s some free Easter printables to brighten up your abode. I love the one with many languages proclaiming that he is risen indeed!

You’ve got this, mama.

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