Why I Love Dyslexia

Our family decided to homeschool when my oldest son was five years old and ready to start kindergarten. Homeschooling was becoming the new thing and I had a few friends who had been doing it for awhile. I asked many questions and listened in awe at their answers of how they managed teaching, being a wife, house cleaner, bookkeeper, nurturer, etc. I was unsure if I could rise to the challenge, but I thought if we took it one year at a time the task seemed less daunting.

So began our homeschooling journey. Amazingly, I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching our son, Aaron, at home and I loved the hands-on approach to learning. I poured over many books about learning styles and homeschooling tips to help with areas I was less knowledgeable in. I found I loved to look at the homeshool curriculum catalogs. Especially living in the mountains and not having access to the internet. Looking at the pages in the catalogs was a way for me to relax and dream about one day having the Cadillac of homeschool curriculums – Sonlight or Abeka.

A few years into teaching Aaron, I was seeing signs of struggle with reading. At first, I thought it was just a slow start and that one day it would all finally click. But, that wasn’t happening. I began to do research and discovered that he had dyslexia. My husband had trouble in school when he was young and reading was labor intensive for him, too. We talked and were discussing putting our son in public school because I thought maybe they could do a better job at teaching him. My husband didn’t like that idea at all. His experience in the special education classroom at school was horrible. He was labeled as “retarded” (Pardon the word usage, but I am quoting what he was called specifically.) and that he would never amount to anything. (Now, my husband reads faster than I do!)

I knew my son was smart. He could build amazing Lego structures. He built a complete hand with movable fingers out of Legos. The detail was astounding. He was extremely good at math, too. I only had to explain math concepts one time and he was off running, working on his daily worksheets and showing me math problems with his base ten blocks. But, then came reading and writing. He just wasn’t getting it. I would cry at night, thinking it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t teaching him properly. I hated this word, dyslexia.

In my struggle I began to cry out. My husband shared with me his thought of taking a break from teaching our son how to read altogether. I thought, “What? I can’t do that. He’ll get even more behind.” My husband’s reply was, “According to whom?” So I prayed about it. A few days later I felt a release to let it go. I decided that I wouldn’t push him to read. If he showed interest, I would definitely help him. But, I was not to force the issue.

In my observation of my son, I noticed how he was able to always see the big picture in everything. He could solve problems better than I could. He could build anything he put his mind to. I was becoming amazed by him. This “handicap” as I thought it was, was turning out to be a blessing.

Slowly over time, things did begin to click for him. I discovered Brain Integration Therapy. We spent 15 minutes a day doing specific exercises to get the left and right brain working together. It was a slow process, but eventually he began to read things that a year prior had been too hard for him.

Dyslexia is looked at as a disability. I am here to say, that it is a blessing. It taught me patience. It taught me to be selfless. It showed me that I would love my son even if he didn’t fit into the mold of 95% of people walking on this earth. Most of all, it revealed to me that my son has a special gift. He looks at life in a completely different way than most people on this planet and that’s why I love dyslexia.

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Land of my Affliction

“For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house…For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”   -Genesis 41:51, 52

I was reading in Genesis chapters 40 and 41 yesterday. As I began to read I was overcome about thinking of Joseph’s life. His brothers wanted to kill him, but instead they sold him as a slave in Egypt, where he was thrown into prison because he wouldn’t lay with Potiphar’s wife. Things are looking pretty grim for Joseph.

He then sees a glimmer of hope. Two men, the butler and the baker get thrown into prison with Joseph. They both have dreams, which God gives the knowledge of the meanings of the dreams to Joseph. Joseph knows that this is a gift that God has given him. He takes no credit for the gift. He interprets the dreams. The butler’s dream turned out pretty good. He would be released in three days and be restored his position. The baker’s dream, however, wasn’t so good. He would also be released in three days, but instead of getting his job back, he would be hanged. It amazes me that Joseph didn’t sugar-coat the baker’s interpretation of the dream. I am sure it would not be easy news to give to someone that they were going to die. Yet, he told the truth. A lesson for me to remember. If God gives me something to say to someone, even if it’s harsh, I need to obey.

The next part is what really spoke to me. When those three days were up, Joseph told the butler to remember him. He said, “Remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house.” Joseph at this point had hope! He must be thinking, surely he will remember me. When will I get news that I am released? Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass. No news. Where is God? He trusted God, but where was He? Heaven was silent.

Two long years go by. Pharaoh then has two dreams and doesn’t understand the meaning of them. The butler finally remembers the man in the dungeon – Joseph. He wasn’t forgotten by God. It had to be in God’s timing. He is sent for and once again, does not take credit for being able to interpret dreams. He gives the glory to God. He told Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Geneseis 41:16)

Pharaoh recognizes something different in Joseph. I believe it was the Holy Spirit in him. He then puts Joseph in charge over his house, and all the people, second to Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife and she bore two sons to Joseph. The first Manasah: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” And the second son named Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

God sees you! He loves you! Regardless of what you are going through, he knows exactly where you are, especially in your “tomb” moments, where all hope seems lost. He is there watching, waiting for the right moment to set you free!

Send Me!

“Whom shall I send, and who will  go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
-Isaiah 6:8

I was reading Isaiah chapter 6 and was overtaken with the beginning of the chapter. The setting is that King Uzziah died and Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. Seraphim stood above and they cried to another “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

Isaiah then said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to Isaiah, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar and he touched Isaiah’s mouth with it, and said: “Behold this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”

Imagine to hear those wonderful words, “Your sin purged!” Yet, once we come to the mercy of Jesus and realize that our sin is completely washed white as snow, we can live and know that our iniquity is taken away! We start the sanctification process – a lifetime of becoming more and more like our savior, getting rid of our cold stony heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh.

I realized I used to believe, woe is me. I have so much sin in my life, I am unworthy to worship at the feet of my Lord and Savior. However, now I am at a place where I am free of my past and feel like I imagine Isaiah felt. Here am I send me! With excitement in my heart, to be chosen by God to encourage others in their daily walk with the Lord.

Father, thank you for your mercy and forgiveness, so I can come before you and worship at the throne, clean and spotless in your sight. With excitement I go forth to spread the good news to others that they too, can be washed white as snow and worship you forever!

 

Experiencing Jesus’s Touch

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

As I read the Bible, I am amazed at how many times Jesus was willing to touch the unclean. To touch a person with leprosy meant that you – yourself became unclean and had to go through a ceremonial purification, which was a huge inconvenience. Yet, He was willing.

We see in Mark 5;21-42 that Jesus was even willing to touch the dead. Again, making himself unclean. As I ponder these thoughts I think about this past week. We have been dealing with many sick people in our own home. My son, Aaron had the stomach flu and the rest of us have been fighting off a head cold. My husband’s cold turned into a sinus infection, making him all the more miserable.

When our son was sick, I thought how reluctantly I wanted to clean up the bathroom after him. Yet, when I weighed the outcome of cleaning up the germs so no one else would get the stomach flu, to potentially making myself sick because I was the one cleaning, I decided it was worth the risk. I was willing to expose myself to the germs on the off-chance that everyone else would stay healthy.

I realized that’s exactly what Christ did for us. He took on all our sin, Who had no sin, to die on a tree for us, so that we would be without sin, to live eternally with Him forever. What an amazing thought!

Lord, thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. I pray that as I go throughout my day I will not get caught up in the things that are tedious for me, but that I would have a mind of Christ and be willing to do the unclean things. Help me to touch the untouchable and love the unlovable just like you did.   -Amen

 

 

Let there be Light

I will never forget the day when we got light switches installed in our little cabin. We had been using kerosene lanterns to light our dark nights with. Which, was romantic for awhile but soon the small light that the lanterns enabled us to see by were not enough. Especially if we had just had a long day in town and came home to a cold, dark house. Having to use a flashlight to find the matches to light up the kerosene lanterns was a chore all in itself and with the glass lamps not giving off much light and moving them from one place to another, we risked them breaking or spilling the oil and causing a bigger problem.

Finally we decided it was time to set up our electricity. My husband had been working all day with the electrical wiring and I couldn’t wait to be able to see if the lights were actually going to work. Our son, Aaron had been watching him intently and my husband was explaining the process with him. Showing him the negative, positive, and neutral wires.

At last the task was done and we fired up the generator. Mark (my husband) called me over and said, “Christine, check out your new lights!” He pointed to the switch and indicated that he wanted me to be the first one to turn the light switch on. I quickly flipped the switch and low and behold we had light! No fumbling for a flashlight. No worrying about batteries being drained. No risk of knocking over a lamp of oil. Just a perfect switch that gave off light immediately.

I spent the next few moments in awe…flicking the switch on and off. Amazed that the light worked properly each time. Appreciative that we had a way to light up our humble home. It was such a small blessing, but it was huge in my eyes.

I imagined God when He created the universe and created light. The Bible says, “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep…Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light! And God saw the light, that it was good. – Genesis 1:2,3

Light is good…very, very good.

To read more about our off-grid living please order my book, Beautiful Dependence at our website.sunlight

 

“For Such a Time as This”

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise, And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:14-16

As I read these verses I was overwhelmed with how Esther handled the situation. Her people were going to be killed. She wasn’t sure what her role was in all of this. Mordecai had said, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Those words are so meaningful. Esther didn’t ask to become queen. She knew that God had opened a door for her, not knowing exactly why. Now it seems that everything was falling into place and I can just picture her mind reeling with thoughts of, “Wow, maybe this is the reason I am the queen. I am in a position where I can help my people.” Of course, this is just speculation, but you can almost feel what she was thinking because her reply was amazing.

She didn’t get upset and go immediately into the king’s chambers. She asked all the Jews in Shushan to fast and pray along with her maids and herself; fasting and praying for three days and three nights. She was bathing the situation in prayer. The ramifications of going before the king without being called, possibly meant death. Esther understood what going before the king could mean for her. Life or death. She reconciled this and had peace about what she was to do. She fasted and prayed. After doing this, she fully understood that her life would be in God’s hands. If He willed her to live – then it would be so. If He willed her to die – then He would allow it.

This spoke to me in such a spiritual way. If I go before our Lord and Savior and He asks me to do something that will “make waves” or even be illegal in our country, would I respond the way Esther did? Would I first fast and pray, seeking His will for the situation? I would hope that my response would be just as godly as Esther’s.

Many times on the mountain where we lived, I had to seek God’s face and see what he required for the day. Sometimes it was just trusting that he would provide food for our family, or money for gas to get down the mountain, or the words to speak to a tortured soul. Always trusting that he would provide and knowing whatever the outcome – He had a plan and I could rest in His peace.

If you’ve read the story of Esther in the Bible, you know that it worked out very well for her. She was able to go before the king, ask him to dinner, and share what was going to happen to her people. Through her, God saved the Jews from being annihilated.

Lord, my desire is to go before You with everything. Help me to seek Your face, not only when tough times come, but when things are going smoothly as well. I know I was created, “For such a time as this.” You have a plan for my life and I want to be able to trust you completely. Amen.

Homeschooling 101

three-kids-snow

Aaron, Storm, and Sarah taking a break from homeschool.

I was recently asked what it takes to homeschool. A dear friend of mine has decided to homeschool her kids and as with anything new, it can look  a bit overwhelming. These are just a few things that I recommend that have helped me all of these years to stay on track and not become burdened.

First, I would definitely have a scripture from the Bible that is your “key” verse. Ours was Deuteronomy 6:5-9. A key scripture is great to remind you of the big picture when things look bleak at the current moment.

Next, have fun with learning! Remember learning is an adventure and doesn’t have to be dull and boring. One of my favorite memories was reading Sacagawea to our kids in a teepee that we made on our land. We also took a hike and pretended to cross the Platt River re-enacting the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Third, it’s okay to modify curriculum to suit your needs. To some, this seems easy to do. To others (like me), this thought is out of the norm and can be overwhelming. One thing I have learned is that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum. I have spent thousands of dollars on trying to find the perfect curriculum to fit each individual’s need and it doesn’t exist. I finally have created my own ideas and used many free library resources, resulting in lots of saved money.

Slow and Steady is all that is needed. Our human nature tends to compare ourselves to others. This is true in the homeschool world as well. I have seen many parents compare their teaching style, kids academic progress, and how well they keep their house clean to other homeschoolers. God created us different, which is a blessing. Our home school is not going to look and feel like someone else’s home school. That is okay! Some people homeschool year round. Others, school for three months and take a month off; repeating the process throughout the year. For us, we worked hard on school in the fall, winter, and spring. Then in summer, we stopped formal school and worked on the homestead chopping wood, working on the cabin, and repairing chicken fences, etc.

At times if our kids were struggling with a particular subject, I would stop teaching all other subjects and only focus on the subject they needed more practice with. Granted, I was always reading living history stories aloud as a family, so they were constantly getting history and a little geography worked in.

Finally, homeschooling is ultimately about the relationship you are building with your children. Spending so much time one on one with the kids is a wonderful experience and I am seeing the fruit of all the labor that we put in come to fruition. My kids are nearing the end of our homeschool journey and I love the friendship that is growing between us. My 19 year old son, Aaron, gave me a huge hug the other day and looked into my eyes and said, “Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me the way you did.” Music to a mom’s ears. Especially when we had a rough couple years when he was in 4th to 6th grade.

Please know that these are just suggestions and there are many great resources out there to help with the task of schooling your kids at home. One of my favorites is www.simplycharlottemason.com. Remember have fun! Your kids will learn and what they lack, they can always learn later. I haven’t stopped learning just because I am not in school. I learn something new everyday!

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2