Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Four Goals before we go to Africa!

I am sacrificing a lot to go to Africa this summer. Some members of my family are really having a difficult time accepting the idea of my son and I both leaving. Some people are really hurt that I would leave them to go to Africa, others are just sad and are going to miss us terribly. I understand their feelings completely, and I do feel sad that we are leaving. At the same time, I know this is where God wants us, and I am at peace with our plan to go to Africa this summer. As I go throughout the day and live my life, I sometimes have "moments" with my son where I wonder, "Can I do this alone with a three year old child?" My son is a wonderful little boy, well behaved and very mature. His language skills are amazing, and he acts older and smarter than other children his age. However, he does not act 21, and traveling with any child can be rather difficult. Being that he only turned three on Sunday, he still has tendencies towards the "Terrible Twos", which means once in a while he gets moody, pout, and may even through a bit of a tantrum. Now, I know these emotional displays are very normal, and I can see that he gets this way because he does not have the vocabulary to express what he wants or needs. However, I also know that when he tantrums, I sometimes feel like I want to lay on the ground beside him and kick and scream right along with him! From reading books on parenting, and from my own experience (my Mom and I used to run a daycare and preschool at our home, I have taught English in China, I volunteered with children at a child abuse prevention center...the list goes on!) I know there are certain things that can be done to help alleviate the frustrations in a child that lead to tantrums or whining. I have taught my son sign language to use to express himself, as well as Chinese, so he can have the tools to communicate his wants and needs. Another thing I have done in the past that helps a LOT, but I have not done lately because of my erratic work and school schedule, is to have a daily schedule for your child. I know, I really, really KNOW that having my child on a schedule was the best thing I could have done for his whining and pouting. When he was on a good schedule, he knew what to expect each day, he could predict his day. This gave him a sense of control as well as the assurance that his needs would be met each day. So, I KNOW my son and I must go to Africa this summer. I also know that we must NOT be "crazy" while we are there! So, I have a few things that must be accomplished before we leave for Africa: 1.) Taiger must be on a schedule (even if it changes when we get there, at least he will be used to a schedule and will trust the new one we live by in Africa). 2.) Taiger must have his tantrums and pouting under control. (Although I said "Taiger must...", because I know it is something only he can control in the end, I realize that it will be my responsibility to provide him with the tools to accomplish this goal. Although it is a goal for Taiger in writing, it is a goal for ME in practice!) 3.) The binkie needs to only be used at bedtime and nap time. Although him having a binkie doesn't bother me a whit, having him lose it so often during the day, having to go look for it, him worrying where it is, him worrying that it has a hole in it...this is all more trouble than it is worth! Here in America, I can just run to the store and grab a new one if the old one is lost or has a hole in it. In Africa, I won't be able to do that, so he must leave it home by his bed while we are out so it is still nice and is not lost by the time it is bedtime, which is when he REALLY needs it! 4.) I must be financially able to go. This one is rather self explanatory.

Introduction! First entry!!

I am so glad you found my blog! I started this blog to post about the work my son and I will be doing in Ghana, Africa, and, later, in JingMen, China. I wanted to write all about Small Stones in my profile but, needless to say, there just wasn't room! So, thank you for reading this post so you can know all about Small Stones. I am currently working towards gaining status as a "Non-Profit Organization." This summer, my son and I will be moving to Ghana, Africa to volunteer at the school and orphan home, Luckyhill. PLEASE visit their website at luckyhillorphanage.org. In the future, my son and I plan to open an orphanage in JingMen, China, where I lived for a year. The name Sixteen Small Stones comes from a book of scripture read and followed by those of the Latter Day Saint faith...MY RELIGION! The book is called The Book of Mormon. In this book, there is a story of a man who is commanded by God to bring a group of people across a great sea. God tells the man how to build vessels that will be water tight. However, once they are built, the man realizes the vessels are also void of light. The man climbs to the top of a mountain and, “…did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones…” The man brings these stones before God. He tells God that he knows that if God would touch the stones they would, “…shine forth in darkness…”, and the man could put them in the boats to light them. God touches the stones and they produce light. I would recommend this story to EVERYONE! It is a testament of the power of God, and the power of humility and faith. When I first felt called to build an orphan home in China, I didn't know how I would do it! It seemed so impossible. However, I remembered this story, and that the man had followed God's command and had come to God with nothing more than sixteen stones and all of his faith. God touched the stones and they produced light. I bring all I have and all of my faith to God. I know if it is God's will, I will build an orphan home in China. In the meantime, through much prayer, I have felt called to serve at Lucky Hill in Ghana, Africa. I don't know why, but I don't need to know. God has asked me to go, so I will go. I hope that you will check back and follow the progress of Small Stones! If you want to leave any suggestions or comments, please do! I would love to hear them! THANKS AGAIN!