Tag Archives: Church

Is There A Family With Special Needs Children In Your Church?

How well do you relate to them? How well do your KIDS relate to them? Here’s the thing . . . when these kids are little, they are cute, and their “issues” are much more easily overlooked. A child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and mental retardation, who is also on the autism spectrum, gets lots of understanding when he or she is a toddler. Believe me, I know. My oldest, “The Batman”, IS that child. He was adopted at age 2, and he isn’t a cute little toddler anymore. It’s so much harder for him now, because he KNOWS he’s different now. He regularly asks me (yet again) if his “friends” know he has these disabilities, hoping (yet again) that maybe they don’t, that somehow, he has successfully hidden it. And yes, he does try, so very hard, to act like the other kids who are teens, not really understanding that it isn’t working. He wants to be accepted so very badly, as do all kids like him, as do, in fact, all kids, whether disabled or not.

So. Do you have a kid, or kids like this in your church? Do you know how to treat them? Do your own children know how? Because if not, you need to learn how to accept them where they are, and for the person that they are, even when that means cutting them some slack if they are annoying. Most of the time, they truly do not understand that they are annoying.

If you have a family like this in your church, here are my suggestions:

  1. Befriend them. And I mean for real, not just in the superficial way that so often happens. Befriend them. Spend time with them. Have dinner with them. Take part in other activities with them. We’ve been fortunate enough to find friends in our church here who do want to spend time with us, people who have been to our home for dinner (on holidays, no less!), or who have had us to their homes for dinner. But, we’ve also, in years past, been part of churches where we felt very excluded.
  2. Learn about the disabilities their children deal with. You may find yourself surprised to discover that an awful lot of the time, what you think is bad behavior, annoying behavior, etc . . ., is directly attributed to the disability, or multiple disabilities working together against the child. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times over the years I’ve been told, either directly or in a round-about way that my child would be more pleasant to be around if I would “just discipline him more”.
  3. Don’t just befriend the child/children, befriend the parents. Do they ever get to go out without their children? We all know how important things like regular date nights are to a marriage, but do you realize that most couples with children like this RARELY get regular date nights? Do you know that there is a higher rate of divorce among couples with these children?
  4. Try harder to understand the behavior in kids like this, ESPECIALLY when they have reached the teen years and beyond.  “Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and or self-injurious behaviors may be involved.” My son is pretty high functioning compared to many others with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental retardation and autism, which has been attributed to the fact that we took him out of school right after kindergarten and began homeschooling him, but even so, he still does, and always will, have serious problems when it comes to social interaction.

My child has battled these disorders for 20 years now, almost 21 years. He has problems when it comes to communication, he has difficulty with timeline, and definitely with social interaction. He is also, when you really take the trouble to get to know him, to befriend him, and help him to feel that he is safe to “be himself” with you,  one of the kindest, most giving and loving people I have ever known, in my whole life.  But, if he feels unsafe to “be himself”, he becomes anxious. He will pull his eyebrows out, and has, at times, pulled large patches of his hair out of his head. He doesn’t “get” social cues most of the time, and often, when someone is “joking around”, he doesn’t get that, either, and thinks they are serious. Sadly, sometimes they actually AREN’T just joking, because they themselves don’t “get it” when it comes to kids like this.

There are children like mine in many, many churches, and if they are fortunate, they are loved, accepted, and have friends. Is this the case in YOUR church? Are these kids included, loved, and treated as though they truly are your children’s friends? Are you teaching your children to be kind and caring, even if those children are “weird”? Because you do your children a disservice if you aren’t teaching them this. In all of their life, both now, and later when they are grown, your children WILL have interactions with people who are “different”. Will they be kind to them? Or will they be intolerant of the differences? Will they stand up for them? Or will they join the bullies, because they themselves fear being bullied?

I have other kids who do not have as significant disabilities as “The Batman”, and it is my goal, which I hope I’m being successful in, to make sure they are learning to help their brother, and other kids like him. To stick up for them, to befriend them, to care about them. I believe this will make a difference in THEIR lives, even later, when they are grown and on their own, which I believe some of them will be able to be. I want my less disabled children to grow up with empathy, and caring hearts.

As believers, I think we need to be aware of these things. My kids, just like all those other kids who are “different”, will never be “safe” to just be themselves in most settings, but more than anything, if you are a believer, I want you to know and understand that outside of their own home and family, the one place they should never, ever have to worry about being able to “be themselves” is when they are with their church family. Look around your church. Are there kids like this? Are they REALLY safe to be themselves? With you? With your children? With their Sunday School teachers? With ANYONE? Because they should be, and if you’re not sure you agree, then maybe you need to read more about Jesus, and how He was with children. The church isn’t just a social club. It is a family.

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Filed under adoption, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Special Needs Children

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . New Years Week . . .

This week, we had our mid-week service on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. We had a potluck fellowship at 6:00, followed by the service at 7:00. Two of the boys at our church are home from college for Christmas, and they, along with two of the boys from the teen group each were given the opportunity to preach for about 10 minutes each. I thought they did an awesome job! The service ended around 8:30, and we went home to get the boys to bed. In fact, my husband and I did not stay up late, either, because he had to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” up very early, so that he could get them back to the church in time to leave with the youth group for winter retreat, in Colorado.

On New Years Day, the rest of us kind of had a lazy day. I wasn’t feeling real great, and napped off and on, but was better by that night.

On Thursday, friends from church came and got “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler” for an overnight with their kids. I ended up with most of the day yesterday and today to myself!

I told you yesterday what I would be doing with the time, and I did. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to join in with the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats. As I told I would, I cleaned out and inventoried my pantry, fridge/freezer and deep freezer. I’m embarrassed to say I had to throw out a bunch of stuff. That’s the other reason I’m doing this, so I can learn to keep track of what we have, and use it up, thereby being a better steward.

So, I have rather a lot of odds and ends in the pantry, but very little meat, veggies or fruit. So, before I head out in the morning for groceries, we’ll be going over what we have and figuring out what we need to go with it.

I will update on the pantry challenge at least a couple of times a week. Not necessarily every day, because I have other things scheduled for posting too, but I will keep up to date on this. 🙂 You can find out all about where I got this idea by clicking the graphic below . . .
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Today while the kids were all still gone, I worked on my ministry cards. I have my own tiny ministry at church with my hand-crafted cards. So far, I have eleven ladies and one family on my encouragement list, and I make them a card every week. I bring them to church to give them on Sunday. I really enjoy it, it feels good to encourage others!

I also worked on getting my blog planner printed out so I can either get it into a notebook or have it spiral bound at an office supply store, and printed out the words to the song I’m singing next Sunday evening, so that the pianist and I can practice it.

Then, it was time to go pick everyone up! We got back a little while before my husband got home, and then he cooked supper, hamburgers and hot dogs, the extras we didn’t use on New Years Day. We also had the rest of the potato salad, coleslaw, and some potato chips. It was nice. 🙂

How was your week? Why don’t you write about it and then link up with us over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers? Click the graphic below to read about the guidelines . . .

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please do go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Christmas Week!

As you may recall, we began the week with Sunday, when I sang a Christmas special at church for the very first time ever. Then, we got rolling with our week!

On Monday, the kids and I ran a few errands, which included going to the doctor’s office to pick up paper prescriptions for those who needed them, and going to shop for gifts for the children in the family we had invited to our home for Christmas dinner. That was so fun, because I really didn’t expect to be able to do much, with what little cash I had left, but a combination of two angels from church helping, plus a sale at Family Dollar Store, where they had all toys buy one, get one 50% off, helped a lot! I had really thought the best I’d be able to do would be some little toys from Dollar Tree, so this was so cool!

On Tuesday, I baked more mini loaves of Banana/Berry/Nut bread and Hawaiian/Banana Bread to use as part of our Christmas morning breakfast, part of the gift for the family who was coming for Christmas, and as part of dessert on Christmas. These are the same breads I made to put in gift baskets for our pastor, deacons and church staff.

My husband managed to get off work a couple of hours early that day, because business was quite slow, so he was able to be home and help with getting the kids ready for church. Our church moved the usual Wednesday service to Tuesday, and had a beautiful candle light Christmas Eve service! Mike was needed to run the sound for the service, and to be there by 5:00 pm to do the sound checks, so it helped that he got off work early, that way we could also get supper done and get there on time! 🙂

After church, we got home, got the kids settled down, watched an hour of TV with them, then got them to go to bed so the marathon wrapping could start! This happens nearly every year, as I tend to need to wait for the payday before Christmas to finish shopping, but it’s also what finally makes me really feel like Christmas, lol! Mike put together the breakfast casserole following a recipe I’ve used for many years while I wrapped, then came in and we watched old TV shows on a retro channel, all Christmas episodes. Think “That Girl”, “The Bob Newhart Show”, “Odd Couple”, etc. 🙂 After the wrapping was done, we went to bed, we knew it would be an early, long day the next day!

Here’s how nice it all looked when we went to bed . . .

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Christmas morning (controlled) chaos . . .

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“The Batman” and “The Artist” had wanted tablets for Christmas. Here is what they found in the top of the boxes . . .

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and here’s what was under them . . .

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For the rest of the morning and early afternoon, here is what we saw . . .

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Then, our friends arrived, and it was controlled chaos again! 🙂

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Finally, the FOOD!

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We decided to do buffet style. Most of the food was on the table, but there were some things on the island as well, and we had set up tables in our front room with folding chairs borrowed from church. We had a wonderful time together!

Mike posted this picture of our brown Christmas to Facebook, as our friends back home are covered in snow and ice . . .

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Thankfully, this couple of days after Christmas have been fairly calm and quiet, as I have a cold and really needed to rest.

The day after Christmas . . .

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And today, watching the DVD of 40 episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies”, which was one of the Christmas gifts they loved!

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I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that your week was great, too! Why don’t you write about it and link up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers? For the guidelines, just click the graphic below . . .

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! To do so, please go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and enter your email. If you enjoy “My Journeys”, we’d love it if you’d go to our Facebook Page and “like” it! 🙂

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Filed under Christmas, Church, family, food, Weekly Wrap-Up

Lots Going On . . .

For the first time, in all of the years I have been singing special music at the various churches we have been part of over the years, this year I was scheduled to sing at Christmas! I really love this song, and our youth pastor’s wife Aubrey Grantham (who is soon also going to be our piano teacher!) did an AWESOME job on the piano! 🙂

Meanwhile, at 8:00 straight up this morning, I called the doctor’s office to get new paper prescriptions for “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler”, as they cannot be faxed or e-filed to the pharmacy. I’m hoping they call me quickly to come get them, I have a few last-minute errands, and really would like to combine the errands with picking up the prescriptions, if possible.

I also need to call the pharmacy itself and check on whether they have ordered a medication for “The Batman”, because it wasn’t in stock for them to fill the other day, and the pharmacist on duty at the time was a floater who couldn’t order anything. 😦

We’re having breakfast, and then I plan to get laundry sorted and started washing, after which, while waiting to hear from the doctor’s office that I can come get the prescriptions, I’m going to work on cards for my wonderful hairstylist, Jody Muniz.  She chose different colors than what I used in the samples I showed her, so I’m trying a different look and will make one of each and send the pictures of them to her by text before making the rest of them. I think they will come out nice! 🙂  I’m also working on a set of cards for someone who won them from a drawing at one of my Close To My Heart gatherings, along with a set of baby scrapbooking pages for a friend who doesn’t scrapbook, but wanted them as a gift for her sister. Which reminds me, as you know, I am a consultant for Close To My Heart, and I want to let you know that there are a bunch of things being retired in order to make room for new, beautiful products! I have seen a sneak peek at the new things, and you’re going to LOVE them, but meanwhile, while you still have a chance to get them, you may view and purchase retiring items here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

 

As always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and enter your email, you’ll never miss another update! 🙂 And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” it! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Christmas, Church, Close to My Heart, family, Mary Did You Know, Mesa Baptist Church, singing

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Busy Busy! :-)

So, you already know that this past Sunday night our two older boys, “The Batman” and “The Artist” were in our church’s annual Christmas play. On Monday and Tuesday, I concentrated heavily on laundry and working on finishing up our Christmas cards, which I was making, so I could have them done to bring to church Wednesday. I made it, yay! 🙂 We also needed to be at church early that night, as “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” were singing special music as part of the newly formed group “Cadets For Christ”. Here is a video of their song . . .

Thursday morning, I worked on addressing cards to be mailed out, so that we could get them mailed on our way to homeschool park day. Along with that errand, we stopped at the library to pick up a DVD I had on hold, Mary Poppins. Can you believe, my children have never seen it? Well, since we left the house before lunch, I did stop at McDonald’s near the park and got everyone burgers from the dollar menu. Except for me, I can’t eat them, so I got a grilled honey mustard snack wrap. 🙂

Ah, park day! It is so grand living someplace where we can go to homeschool park day, on December 19th, NOT wearing winter coats!

Here is “The Batman”, he was playing catch with someone, and between throws . . . and do you see the beautiful mountains in the background? 🙂

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And here is “The Puzzler”, also playing catch!
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“The Artist” was wandering with friends, and “Mr. Loquacious” never stopped moving, so I failed to get pictures of them.

“Mr. Loquacious”, who I suspected was catching a cold, but had insisted he was “fine” and wanted to go to the park, definitely has one now. He’s sneezing some, but he’s still running around playing and acting normal, so I think he’ll be just fine.

Today is Friday. Do I have my Christmas shopping done? No, I do not. 😦 So, this evening, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” will be hanging our with their dad. I will be dropping “The Batman” and “The Artist” off at their Youth Pastor’s home, where they will join the rest of the teens caroling, and then having their Christmas party. Since I do all of my grocery shopping fairly near to their home, I will get groceries while the boys are there, then pick them up. That way, I have them handy to unload the car at home (smart, yes?). This frees up tomorrow, when I will be able to shop alone, and get the Christmas shopping completed.

I hope! 🙂

How was your week? Why don’t you write about it and then link up with us at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

For the guidelines, please click the graphic below

As always, I’d love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and enter your email, and you’ll be notified whenever there is an update! If you enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook Page and “like it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Albuquerque, Cadets For Christ, Christian faith, Church, education, family, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Park Day, homeschooling, Mesa Baptist Church, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . More Christmas Stuff!

You know, I ALWAYS forget how busy it gets this time of the year, until it DOES get busy this time of the year, lol!

In between planning for Christmas day (we have invited a large family from our church for dinner on Christmas), doing regular household STUFF, trying to figure out the best way to give each of our kids at least one thing they really want, and then fill in around the edges, we have had a church homeschool party, I have had a reviews due, had an order of cards to complete, and am even now waiting for a FedEx delivery of materials to do a new order for the same person!

Tuesday evening, the kids and I FINALLY decorated the poor naked tree that had been standing in the living room for several days . . .
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In the midst of it all, I try to keep in mind the real reason for this season. We still have things going on at church. Sunday night, my younger kids, “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” sang with the Sunshine Kids Choir for the special music, as you can see in the video below . . .

Wednesday night, I was on schedule as back up for toddler nursery, and one of the ladies on the schedule had sick kids, so I took her place. I like nursery on Wednesday nights, plus, I was working with a young mom with whom I very much enjoy spending time in conversation, so, win-win! 🙂

Yesterday, we had another homeschool Christmas party, this one with our Thursday park day group. We really had fun! We did potluck, I brought pizza casserole and Totally Bad For You cake (chocolate/peanut butter), for which I was a finalist in the Flint Journal (Michigan) “Merry Indulgences”bake off way back in 1995.

The cake . . .
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and the extra frosting to snack on later!
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I love potlucks here in New Mexico, we are getting to try lots of stuff we’ve never had before! Some of the things brought were sopapillas, black beans, tortilla rolls, some kind of chili that was really good, and bunches of other wonderful tasting things! We find this variety in our church potlucks as well, and are enjoying it!

As you can see, there is an abundance of food here (and I THINK I took this picture before more people arrived with even MORE food! . . .
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Doing what they do best . . .
“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Artist”
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“The Batman” and “The Puzzler”
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Making ornaments . . .
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Here are the final products!
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Later on, we had a white elephant gift exchange, which is always a lot of fun!
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All in all, though this is a busy time, we have been having lots of fun! I hope you are finding time to have fun, yet still keeping your focus on what we are really celebrating here, the birth of our Lord, without whom there would be no salvation.

If you’d like to link up with the weekly wrap-up, just click on the graphic below for information.

As always, I would love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and enter your email, then never miss an update again! If you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure love it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Christmas, Church, education, family, home education, Home-school Group, Homeschool Park Day, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Finishing With a Christmas Party!

Well, this week was a seemingly QUICK week! It seems like the week began just YESTERDAY!

You already know that “The Batman” and “The Artist” both are in the teen choir at our church, and they sang special music this past Sunday night.

During the week, in between packing up all of the autumn décor (now that Thanksgiving is over) and beginning to get the Christmas stuff out, we worked on “household management”, i.e. getting the house under control again, and catching up on laundry, lol!

We’re taking things easy during the holidays, so no “formal” schooling is going on, but the boys did a lot of reading and viewing educational programs.

Today, though, was our church homeschool group’s Christmas party! As we arrived, we were greeted by “Mrs. Peggy”, who had organized everything for us. We began with some Christmas songs, and all of the kids happily sang along while “Mrs. Peggy” led . . .

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Then, we had a story called “The Christmas List”, which I’d never heard of, but I really loved it!

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Next, each of the children who had prepared something was invited up to perform. “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” decided to quote a Bible verse about Jesus’ birth, as you’ll see in this video . . .

“The Artist” played “Angels We Have Heard On High” in this video . . .

and “The Batman played “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in this video . . .

I’m thinking that we better spend some time practicing before we go back into lessons after the new year, as none of us has practiced in about a year and a half, not since before moving here to New Mexico! 🙂

Next on the agenda, we had visitors, Joseph and Mary, to talk to the kids about their journey to Bethlehem, and the wonderful birth of Jesus . . .

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Followed by another story, “The Tale of Three Trees”, which I HAD read before, and still love!

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“Mrs. Peggy” had arranged for the kids to decorate sugar cookies. They each got an angel and a “ninjabread man”! 🙂

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As you can see below, once they were done decorating their cookies, the PIZZA arrived, so everyone had lunch!

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Finally, the kids each got to go find their gifts. Here are my four boys looking for theirs . . .

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To wrap everything up, we got all of the kids to sit in a group by the tree for a picture. Don’t they look like they had a fun morning?

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How was YOUR homeschool week? Why don’t you join us at the link up and tell us about it? To find out how, please click the graphic below . . .

As always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go enter your email information into the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and never miss an update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Church, education, family, home education, Home-school Group, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Weekly Wrap-Up