The Blind Man Meets The Blind Side



I just got back from a four day trip to Columbus, Ohio with my BFF Lindy.  She is a consultant with Thirty-One gifts and earned her ticket to the National Convention.  Since we live in New Jersey, it was going to require a flight and a hotel stay to attend so she invited me along for the trip!  We had so much fun, girl time together.  

 

One of my favorite parts of the trip was one of the speakers: Leigh Anne Tuohy.  You may recognize the name.  She was the mom that Sandra Bullock portrayed in the movie "The Blind Side."   She spoke to us in a stadium of about 15,000 people.


 

She shared with us the inspirational story of how her family adopted their son Michael Oher.  She told us how true to life the movie was.   She said that her family really was driving down the road to breakfast on Thanksgiving weekend when they saw Michael walking along the road.  They turned their car around to go back for him which began the amazing journey for their family.  Their journey started with their white family adopting a homeless 6'6" black teen and ended with that teen becoming the starting right tackle for the Tennessee Titans!


Leanne Tuohy also told us the Starfish story.


She encouraged all of us to make a difference where we can.  God may not be calling all of us to go out and look for 6'6" black teenagers to adopt but God is certainly calling us to help others.  He is placing those who need help right in front of us everyday and we just need to open our eyes and look for it.  We need to respond when we are called.  We may not be able to help every single person but we can help those right in front of us.


I left the arena feeling inspired and recharged.  I took the shuttle bus back to my hotel.  As our bus sat at light in the middle of the busy city of Columbus (the capital of Ohio) I noticed a blind man with his walking stick waiting to cross the intersection.   Our bus pulled up to our hotel and as we all filed out of the bus, I realized that the man was still standing at the intersection.  I watched as dozens of people walked past him as they crossed the street.  The light changed several more times as I watched.  Surprsingly, no one offered to help the man cross.  Why was no one offering to help?  There was my person right in front of me.  The Blind Side had met this blind man.  I was not going to walk right by like I might have in the past assuming that he was ok.  I know that those people were probably thinking that he would ask for help if he needed it, right?  So I walked up to him and gently had a conversation with him...

Me: Excuse me. Would you like some help crossing the intersection?

Him: No

Me: Thinking...Hmmm I guess I was wrong when I thought he needed help

Him: I just need help figuring out where I am.  I got myself all turned around walking through the streets and I don't know what intersection I am at.  Can you tell me?

Me: Sure!  You are facing 3rd Street and State Street is on your left.  The Sheraton Hotel is behind you.

Him: (Sigh of Relief) Ahh!  That makes sense now!  Thank you so much!

Me: No Problem!  Would you like help getting across?

Him: Nope! That's the easy part!

He then heard the chirping of the light that signaled him to cross and away he went with a smile on his face.
 
Lindy and I at the Thirty One awards dinner

 I was really inspired by Leanne Tuohy to act.  I am not sitting here patting myself on the back, I am aware that helping someone cross the street is not worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.   My point is that if we all start responding to the situations and people right in front of us, then helping others will become a habit and the world will become a better place!

Stay tuned for more upcoming blog posts about my time with Lindy at the Thirty-One convention!

Don't know what Thirty-One is? Check out Lindy's web page here!
 

Shark Week Fun for the Kiddos



Shark Week 2014 begins on Sunday, August 10th.     Here in New Jersey, Shark Week is very popular.  I live near the Jersey shore in the Matawan area where there was a shark attack almost 100 years ago in 1916.  The town of Matawan even has a Shark Week festival for kids the first week of August. 

For the younger kids, the Discovery Channel shows can be scary so here is a roundup of some kid friendly ideas and activities for fun during Shark Week:


Light Hearted Ways to Enjoy Shark Week



FREE Printables from In All You Do



Shark Week Snacks from A Few Short Cuts



Great Roundup from A Day in Your Shoes




Round Up of Easy Shark Week Crafts




Free Printable Shark Facts from All For the Boys



I love these Footprint Sharks from Glued to My Crafts



Shark Week Lap Book FREE Printable from Frugal HomeSchool Family



Shark Party Ideas from Chickabug Blog



FREE Printables for hosting your own Shark Week party from Pretty Providence








Shark Week Humor





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Need more Ideas?  Check out my Shark Week Pinterest Board!









Nature Walk with Toddlers {Free Printables}





The little kids and I were invited to head down the shore (that's what you call the beach when you live in NJ) today with our friends. We had to decline because Lucas just started antibiotics for strep throat yesterday and he is not feeling 100% yet.   It was a beautiful day though so I decided it was ok to spend a little time outside before nap time.  What should we do?

You can read about the Nature Club last year in this post.

Last summer I started a Nature Club for my oldest daughter in an attempt to keep her from playing electronics all day, all summer.  This summer she goes to day camp so it is just the little kids and me.  So this afternoon was the perfect time for a leisurely nature walk.   The nature walk that I did last year was a little too advanced for my little ones this summer so it was time for a Toddler Nature Walk.



 We used the FREE printable pictured below for our nature walk.   It had just the right amount of items on it for the attention spans of my two little ones.  The pictures were also perfect since neither one can read yet.  Lucas particularly liked the boxes to check off when he found one of the items on the list. The kids felt very "big" carrying their clipboard and pen.


Free Printable Nature Scavenger Hunt for Toddlers found on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT memberships are free)





We only spent about 30 minutes on the search but they had such a great time working together to complete the task.   By time we got home they were tired and ready for a nap!


 Still need more ideas?  Check out my Nature Club Pinterest Board!







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Free Camping Printables for Fun With the Kids



 My best friend loves to go camping.    So this post is dedicated to her!   This is a round-up of Camping fun and printables for you and her to use while having fun campping this summer!


Mom with a Lesson Plan rounds up Games Recipes and Activities for Camping with Kids



Your campers will love school time with these FREE Camping themed educational printables from a Teaching Mommy




Free Printable Packing Lists from A Daily Dose of Davis



FREE printable conversation starters from StuffedSuitcase.com that can be used around the campfire or at home






Free Printable Campfire Mad Libs




FREE Printable list of ideas for charades from The Joys of Boys





10 Kid Friendly Recipes from abcstoacts.com





AVirtuousWoman.org puts together 20+ ideas for Camping fun as part of her ABC's of summer fun series





FREE Printable Leveled Camping Themed Learning Pack from 3Dinosaurs.com




Love the idea of this Camping Scavenger Hunt from The Creative Homemaker- FREE Printable




Camping Hacks that are a Must Read




Fun Campfire Games for Kids from the Happy Gal




Not into the outdoors but still want to go camping?  Here are some great indoor camping ideas from Rainbows Within Reach


 Still need more ideas?  Check out my Camping Pinterest Board!




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Book Review- Middle School: The Inside Story


Title: Middle School: The Inside Story
Subtitle: What Kids Tell Us, But Don't Tell You
Authors: Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna
Genre: Family & Relationships 

"Middle School"- just the mention of those two words might make your face break out again and palms get all sweaty!  Memories of high hair, braces and glasses come flooding back to your mind.  You remember those awkward days.    

Now comes an even scarier time... being the parent of a middle schooler!  Do you ever wonder what is going on in the mind of your middle schooler?  The authors of this book have spent countless hours researching and communicating with middle schoolers to help parents and teachers to better understand this age group.

The book is broken down into section which is helpful to the reader.  Part One covers the physical differences between the middle schooler and other children.  The authors discuss that awkward phase and what is typical for kids in that age group.  

Part Two is written for Parents of middle schoolers.  The chapters in this section cover communication, relationships, values and discipline in the home. 

Part Three is covers the problems middle schoolers encounter with friendships and other relationships.  The authors also discuss other "red flag" areas such as depression, eating disorders and bullying.  

Part Four covers the middle schooler in the school environment.  Since I am a middle school teacher, I enjoyed this section the most.  The authors covered learning styles and how parents can help their middle schooler succeed in school.

I would recommend this book for parents of middle school students and for parents of students entering that middle school age.  It would be ideal for parents to read this book BEFORE your kids enter the dreaded middle school years.   I would suggest reading this book when your kids enter the 3rd-5th grades.

My only criticism of the book, is that the book made no mention of praying for your middle schooler.  The book was published by a Christian Publishing Company for Focus on the Family so I expected it to be a Christian resource.  There was no mention of the Bible in the book.  I was surprised that there was not a chapter dedicated to praying over your child, especially when they are in middle school!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Tyndale House Publishing Company in exchange for an honest review.

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