Sponsor a Child Today!

Friday, March 30, 2007

New Signs for the Week

Recognize this guy? I know it's tough, but his dog Spot, who is always in tow, gives him away.
You won't believe the difference a week makes.
Praise God!
He is communicating so much more! He is signing like a champ, and even making sentences! (Prompted by me, but still...Awesome!) He must sign "I want ____" when he wants something. He's so good at this! I can't believe the progress we've made in one week. I have no doubt that in a few months time he is going to be a fluent communicator, signing and talking. His spoken vocabulary has literally grown in a week because of signing! I can't stop thanking God. You can't imagine what this means for Justus.
For those of you who are already learning these signs, you rock!!! If you have any questions, please let me know. I want him to feel understood and able to communicate with the people he loves and who love him.
I checked out all of these signs on www.lifeprint.com and they are all on there. You just press on the beginning letter of the word at the top of the screen, and scroll down to find the word in the dictionary shown on the left. I wanted to let you know, occasionally, there will be a sign that we use differently. Signs vary from region to region, North to South. The sign we use for candy, on last week's list, is slightly different. Instead of twisting your finger into your cheek, you brush the tip of your finger a few times against your cheek. I'd be glad to show you. Sorry I didn't give you a heads up on that one.
This week's list:
I (point to yourself)
you (point outward)
jump (we use jump 3 X's to sign trampoline; one of Justus' favorite things)
Thank You
You're Welcome (look at sign for welcome)
Out (for outside)

You can do a quick study on ASL and how it works, (and I'm not the end-all expert by any means) but to give you a few pointers, this is not English. You do not sign every word! This is a conceptual language, and you paint pictures with your hands. When asking a question, you raise your eyebrows. When asking a what, when, where, who, why question, you furrow your eyebrows together. This sounds strange, but it's a very natural expression. Grammar of ASL is actually built into expression. It's a very big deal. You cannot sign with a blank face. So to ask a question, make the signs, and raise your eyebrows. "Do you want to play?" is signed "play" with eyebrows raised.

Practice Sentences:
Do you want to play? (play, eyebrows raised)
Do you want something to eat? (you want eat, eyebrows raised)
What do you want to drink? (what you want drink, what? eyebrows furrowed)
I want to jump on the trampoline. (I want jump, jump, jump.)
Come sit at the table, please. (you come sit table, please.)
Thank you. You're welcome.
I'm going to play outside. (I go play out.)

Let me know of any questions you have. Happy Signing!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Book Club Begins!

Remember I mentioned the book club? Well, get your books, because we are going to have an online discussion group! I finished it, and really loved it, cover to cover. I recommended it to Heather, and she loved it too! So we are going to facilitate discussion on this book on the "Mama Didn't Raise No Fool" blog at allthingswifeandmom.blogspot.com starting in mid-May.
I don't think the book will be hard to find, but if all else fails, you can order it on Amazon. I love Amazon.com! You can get used copies for cheap.
As you read it, start making notes on how this applies to our everyday! We are not going to just bounce around the theology of this book, but how it plays out EVERYDAY! This is our greatest calling...shepherding our children's hearts toward the Lord...getting to the root sin issues in our correction and discipline...making everything in our home about obeying Him!
I know y'all are going to have some amazing things to share and teach me. Heather and I both are going to have our husbands read it and join in, so share it with your husband if you like. I'll let you know when the discussion begins. Can't wait!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Signs for the week!

Look at this cute boy!!! His favorite things in life are simple. Firetrucks, and all things fire-related (hopefully, not fire itself), trucks, trains, tractors, and all things BOY, Curious George, popcorn, popsicles, cooking in the kitchen, especially when he can help cut things up (with his own special plastic knife) or crack eggs, which he's pretty skilled at, and Ryan Price's new piano CD. He loves it!
But if you know and love Justus, you know that his words are few. So we have a newfound resolve to sign 100% of the time with Justus. We are, of course, still keeping with his speech therapy and encouraging him in speech development! This in no way takes away from that. It actually enhances it. He more likely will attain a word if he uses the sign. But this sweet boy deserves some language and an ability to really communicate all that's going on in that head of his. Thankfully, because I am fluent in sign language, we can do this! So for those of you who want to learn some of Justus' signs, here's a short list of some words to start with and a website to go to. The website is www.lifeprint.com It doesn't require a subscription, like some others, and has a pretty good dictionary to access ASL. (Remember, only look at American Sign Language. We do not use Signed English. Yes, there's a difference.) Here are some Justus-related signs.

Finished (All done, or can be used for 'May I be excused' from the table.)
Sleep (night-night)

That should be a good start. Tell me how it goes, and come practice on Justus anytime. Of course, Justus can understand everything you say, but he needs these signs to talk to us, so using them with him really helps him learn to communicate in sign. He's a lot more likely to use them all the time if we do. Pretty soon, we're going to see just how brilliant our little brown bear is! He's going to have the ability to really communicate. I can't wait for that!!! We covet your prayers for him, and his language development!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Has Sprung, People!

Yesterday was the official first day of Spring. My kids kept singing Happy Birthday to Spring! We celebrate the beginning of each new season, but especially Spring! It's so great!
The pretty little yellow flowers have started to pop-up sporadically, but we can just hope that the ground is ready to explode with the bluebonnets and red-blankets too! They're the best! We really loved living in Amarillo, but we were desperately lacking in color come Spring time. (Never lacking in wind, though.) It makes driving around town a scenic tour, and who can resist the pictures of their kids sitting in bluebonnets? Not us.
So bring on the Spring! More time at the park, pre-sweaty season, more daylight, and things get to actually live and blossom. It's the best! Thanks God.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bacak HOPE groupies...on wheels!

This was so fun! I didn't know how the kids would do, but Emma was a self-proclaimed "skating star!" Jax avoided stitches by sticking to the Fisher Price skates, and Justus showed off his stellar agility by being the only two-year-old with "moves." Rusty went directly back to the place and time when he was a superstar Xanadu skater. Luckily, I got to just sit with Treston on the sidelines and be entertained. We were hoping there might be a couple skate where Rusty and I could get out there and make out and embarrass everyone. But no such opportunity arose.
Seriously. This is definitely going to have to be budgeted into our Summer Fun. We've got to do this again HOPE group! Y'all are the best!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bustin' our own rhymes

Remember my post about the psychotic nursery rhymes? Well, we've been making our own silly rhymes around here. I'm kind of proud of mine for Emma and Jax. Ready?
Emma doodle, kit n' kaboodle,
Your Mama loves you so.
And when you go to sleep at night,
she kisses you on the toe!
Jax, Jax, there ain't no backs,
You'll always be my honey.
With piratey pleasure,
you'll find buried treasure,
and send us all your money.
I love this pic. My crazy kids...they are truly unique. I love every phase they go through. The superhero phase, the dinosaur phase, the pirate phase (Jax's current one), every one of them is fun. They are so fun!!!
One of my favorite Emma-isms lately:
"Dad, you know what I blame you for?"
(now this is a disturbing way to start a conversation, and not one we thought we'd hear before the teen years.)
"You're such a great Dad you're freakin' me out!"
Also, she declared that heaven must have all the animal books you could ever want. You would never run out. (Educational books that tell you everything you never wanted to know about seals, or sharks, or whatever.) She has this unquenchable thirst for knowledge for animals.
Also, she has decided that not only will she be a veterinarian, but she will go to Africa and treat the mountain gorillas, like in this book we got from the library.
Then I'll say "And tell people about Jesus while you're there?" She's like (shrug) yeah. But I'll take care of the gorillas!
Jax, and I'm almost afraid to tell you this, because I'm not sure how it sounds, but he likes to carry things around in his shorts. Like magazines, swords (made from sticks and clothespins), paper towel rolls, that serve as a holster to some self-made weapon, you name it. If you show up at my house, odds are he is not wearing a shirt, because they "make him hot" and he's got his pants loaded down with up to five things. Sometimes he wears his boxers, and then tucks a shirt in the front of them to make a loin cloth so he can be an Indian. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers "an Indian." There you have it. Good thing we come from the Cherokee people.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Love This Book!

I am reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. (What's up with the double D and Double P?)
I'm also doing the workbook alongside it.
I have not finished it yet, so a disclaimer could pheasably come later, but I am LOVING this book!
It's all about guiding our children's hearts to the Lord in everything!
Having biblically-based discipline and correction, focused on the heart issues, not behavior modification.
What are our goals for our kids? Are they our society's goals, or are they from God?
What are our methods of motivation, discipline, and communication? The world's, that which you might find on Dr. Phil or any Parenting magazine (by the way, most of that parenting advice from the "experts" in parenting magazines is JUNK if you ask me) or is it from God?
What is the purpose of our families? To be good, successful, happy, well-respected, or ONLY to glorify God? So far, I feel he is so on target, using so much scripture, and I feel challenged and excited about what I'm reading. It's very practical, and focused on our relationship to God and how this plays out in relation to our children.
I'm only on Chapter 9, so I'll keep you updated, but I just had to share this! Buying this book is worth the first 9 chapters alone!
I'm so anxious to throw out all the thoughts, goals, or hidden motivations I have for my children that are according to wordly standards, and making sure that what I'm doing ALL THE TIME is in line with my greatest burning desire for them- to know and love the Lord, to make their whole life about Him, to bring glory to God with all of their lives, and to hide His Word in their hearts in order to keep them from wandering away from Him. Let me share some verses with you that I pray over my kids everyday.
"How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your Word and following it's rules. I have tried my best to find you- don't let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I may not sin against you."
Psalm 119:9-11
"I am overwhelmed with the joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation, and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, filled with young plants springing up everywhere."
Isaiah 61:10-11
This is our greatest desire for them! We are teaching them God's Word EVERYDAY, watching them hide it in their heart, knowing God will use it to keep them from sin. We pray for their salvation (praise God for Emma whose heart already belongs to Him!) and know that our first job is to bring up a little bride and three grooms for the Lord Jesus. I love this word picture of young plants springing up everywhere. Our home is that garden!
But it's not enough to just want that for them. I want to stop sending them even the smallest mixed message, conflicting with these desires. I want to be purposeful every second of everyday with them. I don't want to hold back any tiny crevice of our lives from the Lord. It's all His.
All that to say...I like the book.
It can be our first Bacak Book Club book! Who's in?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

We're Putting On Thankfulness

"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thess. 5:17
Sometimes we get a bad attitude in this house, grown-ups included. We know from reading scripture that we are supposed to take off our sin, and put on something in it's place. A LOT of the time, the Word tells us to put on thankfulness. It reminds us repeatedly, because we don't always get it the first time, to BE THANKFUL.
So when we recognize a stinky attitude around here, we put on thankfulness. When you are grumpy, the cure is thankfulness. When you are whining, the cure is thankfulness. When you are throwing yourself an enormo-pity party, with everyone around you invited, the cure is thankfulness. When you are fully embracing the role of the victim, the cure is...you guessed it...thankfulness. The list goes on.
We have so much to be thankful for. I feel shameful when I realize that I am being ungrateful to God, because He has poured His blessings on me! It's ridiculous. I'm so blessed, and all of us in America have more than we deserve. I am blessed in every way! From where does this wicked ungrateful heart come? Why doesn't thankfulness come naturally all the time?
It's sin.
Pure and simple.
And the cure...thankfulness.
When I start the kids out, putting on thankfulness, they don't like to start. They want to wallow a while longer. Sometimes I like to wallow too. So they always say "you start, Mom."
So I'll start.
Here are a few things I'm thankful for:
(see pictures above)
1. My husband, Rusty. I adore him. I respect him. I could never have dreamed him up. He is my best friend, and an amazing Dad!
2. My Emma. She's so precious. She's full of spunk...obsessed with animals, living in an imaginative world that I love being invited to, smart, a tender little Mama to her brothers, babies, and animals, and best of all, LOVES the Lord Jesus and His Word.
3. My Jax. He melts my heart. He is going to make one fabulous husband one day. He is so loving and affectionate. He also lives in an imaginative world, closely neighboring Emma's, with fewer animals, and more Indians, airplanes, swords, and office and medical supplies. He wins major points when he tells me "You're so bootiful Mom!" and "I love you", completely unsolicited.
4. My Justus. My little brown bear. He's so funny! He has a sense of humor I've never seen on a two-year-old. He's so sharp! He misses nothing. He's the best mime you've ever seen, because he communicates complex things with very few words. He loves books, fire trucks, big trucks, trains, little boy sound effects (shooting, sirens, etc.), and tickling.
5. My Treston. This little boy has stolen my heart. He's the world's best baby, I always say. He is sometimes assaulted by Justus' two-year-old antics, and just smiles away. He is happy when he wakes up, and happy when he goes to bed. He's one chunky baby, and so squeezable! We're all in love.
6. My church. Living Hope rocks. We have a pastor who is not afraid to tell the truth. (Maybe he is afraid, but he does it anyway.) Our church holds tightly to the Word being the final authority in our lives, and everyone is changed by this! The people of LH are so dear to us! It's our pleasure to serve there!
7. My house. It is a place where we can comfortably host a multitude of college students, Countdown, HOPE group, offering a room to whomever may need it, and live so comfortably. I keep reminding my kids that we are VERY blessed to have this house, and we must always use it to glorify the Lord.
My blogging time is up, but my list could go on. Our families, our friends, our country, our cars, a full pantry, our health. Really, God is so good to us, and we remember that when we purposefully put on thankfulness.