Davy’s First Year of School!

This morning I sent David off to school for his last day of KG1. Last night as I was thinking about this school year I had a bit of a slideshow playing in my head.

The Tears

I remember the first two weeks putting him on the bus, pasting on a big smile, blowing him kisses and waving goodbye. Then, as soon as the bus was out of sight bursting into tears and crying all morning. Even into April I was still tearing up every now and then when I put him on that bus.

The Culture Shock

There were many small culture shock moments for both David and I. Davy learned playground Arabic throughout the year, but at the beginning of the year he couldn’t communicate with most of his class mates. Even trying Arabic, many of the kids just weren’t speaking as well as he could because they are learning 2 or 3 languages at a time. He thought kids didn’t want to play with him, and he struggled with the rough way they would act.

For me it was the unspoken rules that were expected. Even Lebanese parents were frustrated by things like that, but they felt used to it. For me it felt like I was in big trouble. For instance, I learned that muffins do not count as a breakfast sandwich. It has to be the sandwich they expected, one I had never made before.

By the end of the year I handled these moments much better, but still would have some amount of shock. For Davy’s school musical they asked us to buy “sandals”. What we didn’t know was that in Arabic there was a much more specific word, so the first ones we brought were considered “slippers”. The second time our language teacher approved them, and now he has great summer shoes, so it worked out well. Also, we were extremely proud of ourselves because we were able to get both pairs of new shoes for $10 (US Dollars).

The Growth

At the beginning of the year Davy could barely jump. Now he can jump, stand on one foot, and do a whole slew of exercises.

He was not able to color in the lines or draw anything on his own. His fine motor skills are awesome now, he stamps, cuts, draws, colors, paints, and doesn’t mind getting messy any more.

David hated singing even though our homeschool curriculum has a song of the week or two every week. David would just allow me to sing it, and if I tried to make him sing it with me he would shut down. Throughout the year his love of singing sprouted and blossomed, and he performed for us in three different presentations with mostly singing and dancing in front of large audiences.

Our shy little boy from the beginning of the year has found his comfort level and spent half an hour after church on Sunday greeting a team from Canada and showing off and telling them stories about his life and plans for summer.

There has been so much growth this year I can’t even begin to share it all, but these are the big pictures that came to my mind as I pondered the year. Thank you for sharing them with me.

If you are interested in an actual Power Point including videos of David’s various performances during the year,

Fill out the form below and I will send you the actual slideshow I created for myself. Busy Mom Scrapbook = Power Point to the rescue!

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My Thoughts On How to Keep a Spiritual Journal

Several stand outs from this book are the call to recognize emotion as important. I sometimes feel that I am too emotional. That there are too many emotions to sort out, and I know people who claim they do not have enough emotion. I think that we all have emotions and a journal can be very helpful in reminding ourselves of our reactions, thoughts, and relationships.

Originally I did not think I would enjoy this book.

As I am reading this book I am finding that it has been reopened at the right time for me.

When I first grabbed it, I was already in the habit of journaling, but in the latest transitions I have felt that journaling has slipped out of reach.

In wanting to become a more consistent blogger I want to be able to write about my life without the emotion and drama becoming overwhelming. Ron Klug mentions just that in sharing that some people have trouble keeping a journal because they feel like the events that were journal worthy were too emotional.

“In past years, I sometimes avoided writing in [my journal] because things were either too painful or very wonderful. I now regret that it didn’t seem necessary to record those times.” Pg. 31

This book has been opening my eyes to ways that I can use journaling in my life. For instance, just taking notes as I read books will help form these book review posts because I can keep the notes in the blog post and then edit down as needed. Making goals based on time to write or amount is another helpful piece of advice as I am trying to build my writing habit. While these might not be all new ideas, the framework of doing it out of God’s desires in my life rather than just to do it is helping me reframe my thinking about my writing.

This book is inspiring me to make slight modifications and then to add to those rather than try to change everything at once. The book shares about so many practical steps mixed with the purpose, motivation, and how to see God in it all. I like that.

I think that this book might be changing a lot more than just a few things, but it will be subtle, so beginning with taking notes from the book I want to stop here to give thanks to God for bringing this book to Lebanon and into my hands right now. Some of the things I see that I believe will have a lasting impact are:

Multiple journals. I have been struggling with guilt, but to think of my folders as a journal organized in a particular way was like light being shed on a dark place. It was not new, and it was not novel. It was obvious as soon as I read it. It also opened my eyes to the fact that I can have journals on the computer as well as written, both for their own purposes. It seems so simple now that I have realized it, but I was floundering a little before.

Personal Contract. This part is where my leaning to dogmatism may come into play, but it was a novel idea to me to take the time to write down my goals and purpose along with a contract. I think that I have taken it lightly that God has also called me, but this book has made it evident that in this season, God is asking my to journal, to blog, to write. Commitment. I want to be committed. So, I am doing this.

As I read this book I am continuing to find pieces that I am happy to begin implementing, and because of the simple steps to begin with I am able to experiment with ways of using the ideas right away. I know that this book is guiding my writing in a way that I will forget because the steps I am taking are so intuitive and useful right away. Also, this book is affirming much of what I already have written and that I consistently write while helping me see a way to make it more useful to my life.

This book does not encourage merely writing for the sake of writing, but also returning to the purpose of growth.

Your journal will be of more value to you if you move beyond the level of what happened to record your reactions to what happened…although not great literature, [this addition of reactions] gives more of a feeling of life because it includes some thoughts and observations. It finds some meaning in even a simple event.

As the book shares about journaling and writing I can hear many people asking, but what does this have to do with God? Beginning with that personal contract I made journaling about God. The act of journaling, of writing is for finding out about myself so that I can serve God. God knows me far better than I know myself at times, and so this is something essential to understand in my writing. No matter what idea I have, how profound, it is God’s creation, and God knew it before I thought it. Journaling is truly a humble task, to open myself before my Lord and stop pretending I can hide anything from him.

Title: How to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping for Inner Growth and Personal Discovery

Author: Ron Klug

Publisher: Augsburg Books

Publication Date: Revised Edition, January 1, 2002

# Pages: 143

Special Features: Writing, Journal, Spiritual Journey, Healing, Growth, Lifelong Learner

Price: Kindle Price is $8.96, Paperback is from $0.77 used on Amazon I bought this book from MTI, the Missionary Training Institute that Louis and I attended two years ago, so I have it in paperback.

ISBN: 0-8066-4357-9