Friday, July 31, 2009

Training Children to Speak

Nancy Campbell
Part 2
1 Corinthians 1:5, "That in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance and in all knowledge...."The word "utterance" is the Greek word, logos. It is also translated, "speech" but means "the expression of thought." How wonderful that God enriches us in all speech and expression of His thoughts. God wants His thoughts and His ways made known and He uses us to do it. We must keep close to the Lord, listen obediently to Him and fill our hearts with His Word. As we do, He will anoint us to be His oracle. Some will speak to individuals, some to people in high places, some to nations. But we must be available at all times to make God's truth known. If we don't, deception increases. Silence is surrender! May we never surrender to deception.
Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 8:7 Paul to "abound" in speech. The word "abound" means "to superabound, to be in excess, to excel, over the top." Thad doesn't sound like being reticent, does it?How do we prepare our children to speak the truth boldly? We must show by our own example and give them opportunity. Here are a few pointers to think about
SPEAK DISTINCTLYIt is important to teach children to speak clearly and articulately from the time they learn to talk. I'll admit I am a little deaf and getting a bit older, but many times I cannot understand what some young people are saying. They talk so quickly and indistinctly that I don't know what they are talking about. I think we should teach children that it is selfish to speak so quickly that people have to ask them to repeat what they are saying.
Back in Ezra's day the Levites "read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." (Nehemiah 8:8) How will they speak with those in high places if they cannot speak clearly?
BIRTHDAY SPEECHES When our children were growing up, we always had birthday speeches. Each one in the family and those who were invited had to give a speech about the birthday person, expressing all the good things they could think of about them--their talents, character and what they meant to them. The birthday person would be filled up with encouragement, enough to last them a year! At the same time, our children learned to express themselves as they gave these speeches. The children have now passed this tradition on to their own children. At each birthday among the grandchildren, they still do the same thing. The birthday child sits on a special chair while all the aunties and uncles and cousins (and there are many of them) say a speech to this child. They sit with a big smile on their face and drink it all in. At the same time, the children, even the little ones, learn to give speeches.
Recently our Above Rubies helpers decided to have a sleepover with our grandchildren, from Meadow down the four-year-olds. Candace was due for her birthday so they asked the children to say some things to her. The girls said they were amazed how the children, even the little ones, immediately responded by giving speeches and speaking into her life. It was second nature to them.
TABLE DISCUSSIONSAs you well know, I believe the table is a place to communicate. The family meal table can be boring or it can be full of life and increasing in knowledge. The other night (with twelve of us around the table) we got into a political discussion that went on for so long that I burned my lovely sour dough bread in the oven! It cooked for two hours instead of one! In fact, I think that if my husband had not insisted that we eventually stop for our Bible reading and prayer, that we would have still been discussing until midnight. When raising our children, my husband or I would either ask a question or bring a subject to the table to discuss. We still continue this today. I find that it is not enough to prepare the food for the meal; we should prepare food for discussion, too. If you don't come with anything prepared, nothing happens and often the conversation disintegrates. I like to think of new things to talk about, but I have also compiled a list so that if my mind goes blank, I can refer to the list.When the children were little, we would often ask basic questions such as, "What was the most interesting thing you did today?" or "What was something new you learned today?" Every person is expected to share, from oldest to youngest, including mom and dad. When each child speaks, all eyes are on them. They learn to speak and feel more confident the more they do it. As the children got older, we would bring subjects do discuss--Biblical, spiritual, political or general knowledge. Each child would be expected to share their views. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn to express their thoughts and articulate clearly. I will print a list of questions and subjects for you at the end of this devotion if you are interested. More ideas next week.Love from NANCY CAMPBELL, ABOVE RUBIESPRAYER:
"Lord, help me to remember that "silence is surrender." Help me not to be afraid to speak your truth in any situation, even if it politically incorrect. Amen."AFFIRMATION:
We are a family proclaiming God's truth.
An Above Rubies reader recently wrote to me, "Both coming from families with poor conversational skills, my husband and I sometimes find ourselves at a loss to initiate meaningful and interesting conversation at dinner with our six children from ages 6 through 17. The children and I are together most of the day, hence we already KNOW most of what has gone on with each other that day. Can you suggest some good conversational starters to help us get going?"This is a really good question. I also find that if I don't think of some ideas before the mealtime, the conversation goes nowhere or is non-existent. By the way, when we put out a question at the table, we start with one person and go around the table, allowing everyone to have a turn. The following are some ideas to get you started. They are only ideas. I am sure you will be able to think of things that relate particularly to your family.
If you were given a million dollars, how would you spend it? (I have to admit that this was one of the favorite questions our children growing up, and they never tired of it! No wonder one of our sons decided he wanted to be a millionaire by the time he was 30 years. He didn't make by 30, but he is one now! Of course, that didn't happen with all the family. Our daughter, Evangeline, lives with their ten children in a little tiny cabin with no bedrooms and no beds! But she has such an amazing positive attitude that she lives like a millionaire!)
If you were able to travel to another country, which one would you choose, and why?

Why do you think abortion is wrong? (Christian children know it is wrong, but often they don't know why. We need to guide their thinking and help them to understand the underlying factors and why it is foreign to God's ways.)

If abortion is murder, what should we be doing about it? Can you give some ideas?

If you were Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, would you give up "Land for Peace?" If yes, why? If no, why?

How do you think Israel will ever regain the land that God originally promised them? Do you have any scenarios? Read Deuteronomy 11:24

John Adams, the second President of the United States said, "But a constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever." Do you think this is true. If so, why?

What are you most thankful for in life?

What new thing would you like to learn to do? Why?

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you today?

What is the best thing that has happened to you in your life?

What is the worst thing that has happened to you in your life?

What is your dream and vision for your life?

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States said, "When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." How does this relate to us today in our nation today?

Who is the nicest person you know, and why?

What was the kindest thing that someone ever did for you?

What was the nicest thing someone ever said to you? How did it make you feel?

How do you think our words can affect other people?

Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy), 26th President of the United States said these words: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." What would you say about this statement?

What is the best Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover etc. you have ever enjoyed. Choose which one is appropriate for your family.

What was the most interesting thing that happened to you today?
Tell us something new that you learned today.

Did you learn a new word today? Can you tell us what it is and what it means?

What is your favorite story, and why?

Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher and politician (1729 - 1797), said this famous statement, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." He also said, "All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing." Do you think these statements are true? If so, what should we be doing about them?

Romans 3:4 says, ""Let God be true, but every man a liar." What does this mean to you?
If you were given a day that you could do anything you like to do, what would you like to do? Why?

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States said, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country." How does this statement relate to us today?

What is your favorite Bible verse, and why?

Who is your favorite character in the Bible, and why?

Tell us what you think is special about older people.

Tell us what you love about babies.

Share with us the character of the man or lady that you would like to marry when you grow up.

What kind of a house would you like to live in when you get married?

What kind of wedding would you like to have when you get married?

If someone said to you, "I don't believe in God!" how would you answer?

If someone said to you, "How can I find God?" how would you answer? What steps would you take to lead this person to Christ?

What is your favorite tree, and why?

What is your favorite flower, and why?

If you could have whatever you wanted for dinner, what would you choose?

In what way would you like to serve the Lord when you grow older?

If you were going to be a missionary, to which country would you like to go to serve the Lord? Why?

What is your favorite room in the house, and why?

What is your favorite movie, and why?

What is the most interesting show, entertainment or tourist place you have been to? Why did you like it the best?

2 Timothy 4:2 says, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season." How can we be ready to speak for the Lord in season and out of season. What do you think this means?
Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." How should we go about seeking to keep our freedom? What do you think should be done? What can you do?

Another good idea is to ask one child each night to have a turn to find a poem that they like and bring it to the table to read. The next child the next night until they have all had a turn.

You can also ask each child, taking a turn each night, to bring a Bible Scripture to the table which they read and then explain what it means to them

Another idea is to give the children a word such as "justice" and ask them to look it up in the dictionary, go to the Internet to find out more information about it or find a Scripture in the Bible about it and bring it to the table for discussion time. Each child can then share their information. You can do this with any words or subjects you would like them to discuss.
Nancy Campbell
Above Rubies

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


After a court date today, we got word that foster baby will be staying with us for awhile. The situation is not great with the birth family, and from here, bio mom will be working toward reunification. I am very skeptical, given the situation, however, hopefully the reality of having her baby now in a foster home will be enough for her to turn her life around. Only time will tell...
In the mean time we will love on this little one, and she is precious! She is a little doll, and she smiles, and coos, and smiles more. Having her here has only added more joy to our home. I really do not feel more overwhelmed, stressed, or anything! God is so good, and I know He has prepared our hearts to open our home to a foster child, and this little one is so fun to have around! Children are truly a blessing from the Lord!
The girls are doing great with the baby. L walks around saying, "I like baby". She always wants to hold and feed her. M is enjoying her as well. They have embraced her with the simple, pure love that children so naturally have.
We have a lot to learn about how the whole foster system works. I am sure it will be frustrating at times, as I often hear, but I also hope to just learn a lot, and go with the flow.
The next court date will be in about a month, so we will know more about how her case is moving then. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Our first little foster baby has arrived!!! A 7 week old precious baby girl! She is so sweet, and completely adorable.
We were getting all ready to head on up to our annual church campout when we got the call. This is the 3rd time this has happened. The calls never come when I am home with everything in order, and everything cleaned and dusted-no! They call when we are in the middle of a big mess, packing, the house is torn apart, and we are almost out the door. So, this time, we gave in, and picked her up, and have joyfully embraced this sweet little bundle. We will take care of her for as long as she needs us, and pray for her daily. Whether short term or long term, what a journey it will be! Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thoughts on homeschooling...

I have recently joked with a homeschooling mom who has been homeschooling many more years than I have, that "this year we're getting serious!". She laughed and stated that she says that every year, and she has some that are now teens. The truth is, her children are doing very well, and have benefitted greatly from home instruction. I am technically moving into my 5th year of homeschooling. I still feel like it is my first year when we begin each fall. There is just so much to learn! There is also so much out there to choose from that it can be quite overwhelming! I just got done pouring through a huge stack of homeschooling catalogs that I should have looked through 2 yrs. ago! There are hundreds of homeschool curriculums, and companies out there. There are conventions, on line resources, and so much more. Here where we live there are co-ops, support groups, used curriculum sales, homeschool gymnastic classes, homeschool PE, and much more. I can't do it all, so I try to pick and choose carefully. I recently attended our large statewide homeschool convention in Puyallup, Wa. It took all day just to see all of the vendors and to narrow your focus down to one curriculum is almost impossible. That's why I have chosen at this point and time to use various approaches, books and resources. I also have done a lot of research and reading on the Charlotte Mason method, and have begun to use her approach in our homeschool. To learn more about who the british educator, Charlotte Mason was, go here .
Her philosophies drew me in right away, and I have to say they work. One of the most important aspects I have learned in implementing the Charlotte Mason method in our home is that of living books. She very much encourages using books to educate your children, but not dull textbooks. A living book is a whole book that is living in the sense that it is written by a single author who shares personally his favorite subject with us, and we pick up on his enthusiasm. The way to test whether or not a book is a living book is to pick up a book, turn to any page and start reading it to your child. If their interest is peaked, and when you stop they really want to hear more, that is a living book. Living books should be carefully chosen, wholesome, and interesting to your child. I can tell you that M, age 7, can't get enough of books. I can barely keep up with her to supply her love of reading. She reads many books each week, and is reading well above her grade level. I am working hard at stocking up on enough books for her for this upcoming school year, plus we will visit the library often.

I now have to get my subjects and classes in order and organized. There is a lot to do, but it is also so exciting. It is so great to be a part of your childs learning and growing on a daily basis. And, you may wonder about socialization...this is usually the first concern I hear from people when they find out that we homeschool. Socialization is the farthest concern from my mind. Homeschoolers have so many opportunities for social activities, this area can also be quite overwhelming. M just went to a birthday party of one of her homeschooled friends, she has gone to a couple of day camps this summer where she spent time with lots of little friends, she goes to a co-op, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, play dates, Awana, field trips, church, and more. It's actually a little too much. The great thing is that when you are a homeschooling family you always know who your children are socializing with, and this is also a great benefit. I have heard this from homeschooling parents who now have adult children, and this is one of the things they greatly appreciated about homeschooling.

One thing I have come to realize is that homeschooling is an atmosphere, and it is a lifestyle. It becomes so much more than just teaching your children. There are so many blessings that have come from it that I never expected. It is something I do not take for granted. L will officially be starting homeschool this year as a preschooler, and she is so ready! I look forward to the upcoming school year with anticipation, and will share occasionally about what the girls are working on and how their year is going.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Could it be you?

There are between 143-210 million orphans in our world today. Can you comprehend that? I can't. 143+million little people that have no one to call family. There is no one that claims them, and no one that loves them. It's hard for me to swallow that there could be just ONE little person going through this, but 143 million? I think really wrapping my brain around this and truly understanding this would be way too painful. That's why I chose to state that I do not comprehend this.

I remember the first time I stepped foot in an orphanage in eastern europe. It was exactly what I had imagined it would be like. I stepped out of the old van that brought us there. In front of me was a wrought iron gate. As I stepped through the gate, off in the distance, past the yard was a tall run down building, a structure with nice architectural aspects, but the walls were crumbling, and it looked dull, dark, and hollow. I felt I was right where I was supposed to be. I was in a place I had only dreamed of going but never thought would come true...the fields of the fatherless. In my heart of hearts I knew the Lord had brought me to this place, and for the first time...I had a glimpse outside of my cushy life in the good 'ol USA. Caring for orphans was something the Lord had placed on my heart at a young age...and I have to say having an opportunity to carry out something God had given me the desire to do...was an amazing moment.

We were invited inside. We would have a tour, and then be fed lunch. All around us were children, orphans, with wide, curious eyes. We smiled at them, played ball, and tried to show them we cared. At one point I looked down...and a very young little girl, no more than 3 had taken my hand in hers. I hadn't seen any other children this young there before this. She smiled a very cautious little grin, and was glued to my side for the remainder of our time there. Heartbreaking. She was searching for a mommy, and to know that she felt safe enough to hold my hand, a total stranger to her, is both sad, and sweet.

We were served borscht and bread for lunch. I felt almost guilty eating this food, yet I knew it gave them so much joy to feed us. We ate, and visited for as long as we could. When we left, the children all clung to the fence and watched us drive off...the sadness in their faces I will never forget.

I spent time in two more orphanages there. It was humbling, and eye opening to say the least. The pain, aloneness, and the vastness of the plight of the orphan became very real to me. To know that these children, and hundreds of thousands more in their own country would never know the safe arms of a mommy or daddy was heartwrenching. And I will never forget them.

As christians we are called many times over to care for orphans. As christians we are called to step out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I would be a missionary all over the world if I could, I would adopt hundreds of orphans from all over the world if I were allowed. But I am only one. Will you join me in this cause, the cause of the orphan? They need us.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's all about ME...I'm three!!!

Today was my 3rd birthday party! My mommy wrote happy birthday to me on the chalkboard!
I love elephants, I call them Elly's and I told mommy I wanted an Elly on top of my birthday cake. I also told mommy I wanted chocolate cake. This cake is chocolate on the bottom with fresh sliced strawberries in the center, white cake in the middle with a strawberry cream filling. Yum!

Here I am getting all ready for my party. I keep looking at my cake wondering when I can eat it!

I opened lots of presents! My big sister helped me. I got lots of Elly's too, including this one. I also got Dumbo and Horton books and movies, an Elephant sprinkler, Elly pajamas and more! I sure do love Elly's! My sister got me two boxes of cereal, because she knows how much I love cereal too. Oh, and mommy and daddy got me a Mulan Barbie doll, I really love playing Barbies now.

Here I am all ready to eat my cake! I am going to blow out my 3 candles all by myself! Mommy said I get to eat the Elephant head on my own plate. I sure do love parties! Happy birthday to me!

Friday, July 10, 2009


...and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to Blossom.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah...the simple life

The other day was a rare time spent at home all day long. No t.v. on, nothing out of the ordinary going on, and nowhere to go. The girls spent most of the day outdoors, playing with the kittens, running around the yard chasing chickens, and swinging from the swings hanging from our big maple tree. I took the time to sit on the porch and read a book while they played. I then found the birdnest in the photo above, and decided to decorate the little table on the porch with it. The birds were singing...the girls were laughing, and I thought...this is the sweet, simple life I look for every day. Later, after I was inside for awhile, I went back out to find M "painting" on the porch. She had picked some cherries from one of our trees, and had squished them up in a little bowl, and was painting a beautiful picture...all from things she found in nature. Children really can find wonderful things to do without t.v., video games, and computers. Later that evening, we all spent time in the garden marveling at all that is growing, and harvesting what we did find, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, and lettuce. It was such a great day, and I hope to have many more like this all summer...