Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Smile, A Laugh, a Blessing

I am learning to be grateful for many little things in life.  A dish brought to the sink instead of left on the table.  A pair of pants put in the laundry basket rather than left on the floor.  Simple things, basic things, yet I am learning to appreciate them. 

And then I look at Carrington.  Follow the link HERE and watch how this little girl has blossomed.  How she smiles, finally home with her family. 

This is a horrifying picture of what neglect and institutionalization can do to a child.  In this picture, her parents have just released her from the orphanage and brought her straight to a hospital in the US.  She is thirteen pounds. 

I can't even imagine what this family has been through -- what this child has been through.  And what many others are experiencing each day.  Starving -- for food and affection, for warmth and family.  I mean, she is older than my Henry, who also has Down syndrome, and he weighs 28 pounds!!  (Granted, he has never, ever missed a meal....but this discrepancy is huge). 

Thankfully, Carrington had parents who felt the call to love her (and to bring home another sister as well!).  And there were many others praying for her, contributing to her adoption fund, and raising awareness of orphans with special needs everywhere. 

Thankfully, Princess Carrington is home now, learning to love and thrive. 

Asleep, resting, knowing that God loves her!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Prayer and homeschooling

While I originally intended for this blog to be mostly about the plight of orphans and people with special needs, I do have other aspects of my life that I'll share to give all (15!!) of my faithful followers a wider perspective on the Smith household.  Yes, we do try to pray for orphans every day, and specifically Isaiah and Vilis by name.  Part of how we do this relates to our school time. 

Four days a week, my kids and I do school at home (the other weekday, we attend an academic group, Classical Conversations). And in the past few months, I have made a special effort to have each day start with some form of Bible reading and/or verse study, plus prayer.

Though I had prayed a lot before starting homeschooling, and though I pray now while engaged in it, I didn't always start our homeschool day with prayer with my children If going to God is the most important thing I should do, and which I want to teach my children, how did I think they were going to learn this if I didn't model the right way? 

Conviction.  We needed to pray each day at the start of school. 

At first it seemed awkward.  "OK, kids, we're going to pray."  They are used to us praying at dinner and before bed, and when someone is sick, but before school?  It was a new thing.  But then I started adding Bible reading, and sometimes including the Bible memory verse from either Classical Conversations or AWANA, the program we do at a local church on Wednesday nights.   It seemed natural to add prayer at the end of the reading and study time.  And it honors God and blesses us to have our focus first on Him.

I'm heartened by how my girls are responding.  They will sometimes pray out loud with me, and other times keep silent.  Sometimes they will remind me to pray for Isaiah and Vilis, and other times will add their own prayers, such as for Japan, or their brother, or others. 

Now for those who are wondering, How does this happen?  How do you homeschool kids of different ages, including a toddler with Down syndrome?  Well, I will discuss some of those details and organizational tips in the future.  Truthfully, there are some days when it is amazing, when everyone appears to listen and Henry hasn't yelled or filled his diaper during the few minutes focused on the Lord.  Other days, the cliche of herding cats come to mind (like the day I left my Bible on the floor during prayer time, and the next thing I heard was Henry ripping out pages!!!).  

Keeping one eye open during prayer time is sometimes my only option, while other times, I feel God's Spirit of peace as we focus first on what really matters in life! 

I encourage you, no matter where you are in life, whether you are married or single, whether you have children at home or not, whether you homeschool or do private/public school --- pray.  Pray with your spouse.  Pray with your kids.  Pray with God -- talk to God and give God your day. This is a lesson which I am learning now, and it is bearing much fruit. 

Blessings to you all!

Life With My Special Ks: A Seven Day Blitz for Kirill!

A group of moms w/T21 cuties are sponsoring a fundraiser for Kirill's family to help pay the expenses of their appeal. For more information, please click below:

Life With My Special Ks: A Seven Day Blitz for Kirill!: "On March 17, 2011, the Davis family sat in a Russian courtroom and listened as the judge rejected their plea to adopt Kirill, an orphan with..."