Monday, October 29, 2012

We're All In... Why We're Excited About the Election

Earlier today I was talking to a child care provider about the importance of exposing children to the election process.  And as we were talking, I thought back to the last election when my (then) 6 yr. old begged to stay up late so that he could see who won the Presidential election. 

As they finished tallying votes and announced the projected winner,
he went running through the house shouting,

"We won... We won"

He was all in

Perhaps because,

in 1870- The constitution granted Black Americans "the right to vote"
in 1920- The constitution granted women "the right to vote"
in 1965- The Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices against Black Americans

Now we're all in

I blinked and my attention shifted back to the conversation, as she said...

"You see that elderly gentleman sitting on his porch across the street?" 

I looked out of her kitchen window and saw a gentleman with a head full of snow white hair leaning back against his chair, legs crossed, arms relaxed at his side, seemingly without a care in the world. 

She went on,
"the last election was his first time EVER voting.  I helped him get registered so that he could vote." 

She said that he was inspired by a message of hope and change, and a face that he was willing to take a chance on because it looked like his and so...

he was finally all in

Well tonight, I came home and looked at my ballot, realizing that

I have some difficult decisions to make
some important initiatives to read up on, and
some sincere prayers to offer up

I cannot take this lightly...

I must be all in

because there have been too many lives

slaved
suffered
sacrificed

for my right to even be heard as an individual

So I will vote
in remembrance of ancestors who fought for a right that they would not live to see

I will vote
with the hopes that my descendants will only know poverty, racism and other social injustices through the pages of a book

I will vote
with the confidence that my one small voice does still matter and CAN make a difference

Because no matter what, come November 7th...

We're all in!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Muffin Tin Crayons... (Week 2)

Ever wonder what to do with all of those broken crayons?
Start at the beginning...


Activity#2 -Crayon Sorting


What we did: I set out sorting bowls and labeled a paper to help make our sorting easier. My helper, Micah snapped the crayons into pieces and put them into the corresponding bowls. Our crayons were now ready for...

Activity#3-Muffin Tin Crayons



What to do:  Spray an old muffin tin (that you never intend to use again for food) with nonstick cooking spray.  Add the crayon pieces and put into the oven at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the crayons have melted.  Let cool and then freeze the entire tray.


Lesson Learned:  It took me a few "trial and error" test runs to get this right, and the first few batches didn't come out as expected, so I used them for the next activity...

Activity#4- Shaved Crayon Art




What I did: Took the failed muffin crayon attempts and "shaved" them with a butter knife.  I used rubber cement to adhere the shavings to a sheet of construction paper, grabbed an old matte and frame from one of our former art shows, and framed up my masterpiece!


Activity#5-Crayon Wax Drop Art

                                

What to do:  Use tea light candles to melt the tip of the crayon.  Once the crayon begins to melt, drop the wax onto paper, creating the design of your choice. 

Important to Note: 

This activity is only for adults or older children with supervision
My children were a little hesitant with this activity at first because we have always warned them against "playing with fire".  However, once I sat down with them and showed them how to use the materials safely, they couldn't be stopped! 


 (For more activities check out our "APFLH" Children's Art Studio...here)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

You can be a Winner in "The Game of Life"

My kids have been on a "game night" kick almost everyday this week,
and I have been surprisingly willing to play along. 

In fact, my heart skipped a beat when my son pulled out

"The Game of Life"

as I reminisced over how I used to LOVE this game when I was growing up!



Photo Credit: Flickr: {c.a. muller}

He pulled out all the pieces and began setting it up.

Start up money... check
Plastic green car... check
Add the pink lady... check

Go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house... check, check, check, check

WHOO HOO!  My "game of life" was going GOOD!!

Then I hit a few bumps along the road...

Lost a job
Got another
Had a few accidents and some bills to pay... (but hey you know, that's life). 

About halfway through the game, the tide shifted back in my favor.

Won $100,000 for a contest... yes!
Won a SECOND competition... yes!
Had a baby girl, then a set of twin boys, and then another boy... Sure, why not?

Reached the finished line first and finally got to retire... check

I looked up and saw that my children still had quite a bit of distance to go to reach the finish line, so I went ahead and began to "cash out".  My son asked me "how will we know who the winner is?" 

And without even thinking I said,

"I think its whoever ends up with the most money at the end". 

I stopped counting as those words echoed in my ear
immediately regretting the lesson I had just unconsciously taught them

I realized that my entire "game of life" experience with all of its

ups
downs
highs
lows

had just in one moment
been reduced

to how much money I had made?!?

I put the fake money down
looked up at him
really noticing him for the first time since we had started the game

And in that moment, I realized that I am

officially
unofficially

done

with "The Game" of life

(because I don't need to get to the finish line and count my money to realize)

I've already won!

(1 Corinthians 15:57)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Student Driver... A Lesson in Grace

Ever notice how differently we treat student drivers? 


Think about it...

we slow down for them
we leave a respectable distance between "us" and "them"
we let them merge into the lane the moment they put their blinker on

we bear with them
we treat them differently
we make accommodations for them because of what we know about them

They are...
still learning

They have...
taken the initiative to learn

They will...
with time, get better

So we don't...

honk
yell
express frustration

with them because we know that those actions would probably

do more harm than good
stunt their growth
impede the learning process

Instead we exercise...

patience
empathy
understanding

as we recall that the black lettering spelling out the words

"STUDENT DRIVER"

once referred to us as well

But what if we all were still adorned with black lettering
letting people know where we are in our journey?

What if our invisible scars were suddenly made visible?

Would it matter?
Would it make a difference how we treat one another?

For instance if you could see
that the coworker who irritates you "Is Lonely and Feels Empty Inside"

or...

the difficult child in your class is suffering because "Nobody Hugs Me at Home"

or if you knew that...

the stranger who is rude to you for no apparent reason is "Coping With a Loss"

What if we could all see that? 
How differently would we treat one another?

I'm just wondering...

How much more patient you would be with me
if you knew that some days I still feel like...

a "Student Driver"?

John 15:12