Judging a Fish by its Ability to Climb a Tree

 

If you spend any time at all around homeschoolers you begin to notice a pattern to parents’ discussions regarding their children’s abilities to learn – or perhaps “willingness” is a term more frequently used. Some children go along quite happily, talk early, read early. But for others it’s like pulling teeth.

Adult teeth.

With no anesthesia.

And this is for the parents! The kids find it even MORE excruciating!

Why does it seem like some take to learning – starting with reading – like ducks to water and others like orange juice to mint toothpaste?

This is a subject near and dear to my heart since I have a son in each camp.

My oldest son spoke early and well, understood things well beyond his years and – quite without interference from me – taught himself to read shortly before his sixth birthday.

My other son talked late and was hard to understand, couldn’t tell a story to save his life (many times, he’d finish just to have his older brother say, “Here…let me tell it” or “Let me explain what he’s trying to say”) and didn’t read until after he’d turned 13 years old.

In 2003, I took a class and began doing research about brain leads — which side of the brain is stronger — and not just left and right, but basal (back) and frontal (front). All children are born as a right lead since that’s the relational, creative side of our brain. The left side of the brain is repetition, order, organization.

Right Basal children are very language oriented. They get social rules and connections easily; for example, they seem to understand family relations and that grandma is mommy’s mommy at a very young age. They’re the ones who talk early and well. My oldest son learned very young that adults find manners charming.

Our family went to a restaurant when he was about three years old. Without prompting he said to a hostess who’d just seated us – per our request – at a booth (true story), “Oh, this is perfect! Thank you so much!” with such enthusiasm yet restrained enough not to seem unruly.

We all looked down at him amazed! She looked up at me and asked, “How old is he??”

My second son, on the other hand, didn’t talk until well after he was two. To anyone outside the family (and some inside the family) he was unintelligible until he was five or six years old! Fortunately, I’d been introduced to brain leads and I had some perspective!

Right FRONTAL children are the creative, day-dreamy ones who don’t seem to get anything that Mom wants them to get. They are picture based! They don’t experience the world as letters, words and/or language of any sort! When they have something in their brains, they see it, not say, or think, the word for it.

These children find it VERY difficult to “swim in the pool” of language, if you will. They can’t tell stories (or relate a narrative) to save their lives! But typically they can draw well, have vivid imaginations and excel at spatial things, especially math and/or science.

My second son came up to me when he was maybe 6 and said to me, “Mom? I can spell my name.”

I was floored! Knowing that he wasn’t a language-based child, I hadn’t pushed reading or letters (thank heavens I’d read the Moore’s books as well as Better Late Than Early). I hadn’t worked with him on his name or any other word!

“How do you spell your name, Lowell?”

“L…O…W…E…L…L…”

It’s not an easy, three or four letter name! I was duly impressed! But not nearly as impressed as when he said, “Mom, I can spell my name backward too,” (matter-of-factly…no bragging or drama. Just perfunctory as if everyone could do it).

This time, I watched him carefully and noted something that I hadn’t seen him do when he spelled it forward (I’d been distracted with a project).

He looked upward and nodded his head slightly as he said each letter, moving his eyes as if following something backward.

“L…L…E…W…O…L…”

He didn’t even hesitate!! Nailed it! And then the thought occurred to me: He sees his name as a picture! The letters are all arranged, but they’re probably 3D and even colored in his mind’s eye! Of course he could spell it backward, because it wasn’t bits of language, it was a picture!

My favorite example when I’m talking to someone face-to-face is to pick up an object: a cell phone, pair of glasses, box of kleenex. I hold it up and ask, “What is this?”

Because they suspect a trick question, they answer hesitantly, “A…pair of glasses?”

“Right!” and I turn it upside down. “Now what is it?”

“Glasses…” as if I’m losing my mind.

Then I turn it horizontally as if on a plane, “And NOW…what is it?”

“DUH! It’s a pair of glasses!”

EXACTLY!! Because it’s a representation of something, a “picture” if you will.  It  doesn’t matter if it’s upside down, sideways or underwater, it will always remain a pair of glasses!!

Now what do we do with these little picture-based people? We take them at a very young age (hopefully homeschoolers are less likely to do this) and force them to learn how to read. Then the ultimate joke! We take a given letter (think: “picture”) like a small-case “p” and then depending on its position in space, we CHANGE what it is!!

It’s a “p”

{flip}…no! It’s a “d.”

{flip flip}…no! It’s a “b.”

{flip}…wait! It’s a “q!”

Think about “u” and “n” or “t” and “f”…other similar letters that differ mostly by their orientation in space!

Can you start to see how CONFUSING this all is?! And each different thing  has a different sound that it makes.

It’s almost like {grabbing reading glasses and flipping it upside down}, “Look! It’s a cow, it says ‘Mooooo.’”

{flip}…Now it’s a truck and goes, “Vrrrrrrrrrroom!”

{flip}…And last it’s a fox!

Wait a minute…what does the fox say?!

Sorry…couldn’t resist. It’s late and I’m tired.

If we recognize where our children’s gifts are, we can use them! When my husband and I separated in 2010, he communicated through our lawyers that the kids needed to be in public school. Lowell was 9 years old and a non-reader. I fuh-REAKED out! And so Lowell started a crash course in reading.

Despite my best efforts, he was just not getting it. For example, every single time he got to the word, “the,” he could NOT remember it. He’d sound it out as if it were brand new to him.

I was pulling my hair out in frustration!

Now, I’m a READER! I taught myself how to read when I was five or six! To me, the word “the” is a NO-BRAINER!! But then I remembered how he could store letters and words as pictures and what I told him is to take the word “the” and make a picture out of it. I told him to picture it in his brain. I asked him what color he would make it. If he gave it spots or stripes or something like that, ever better!

He never again stumbled over the word “the.”

‘Course he didn’t learn to read that summer. Or the summer after that. Or even the summer after that! He finally leapfrogged over the beginner’s books and picked up his very first book this last summer – 2014 – and began reading it: a chapter book.

Yes, my husband and I reconciled, for those who aren’t familiar with my story. It was a total miracle…a God-thing.

Here’s the thing. Learning to read is a process. Learning anything new is a process, but reading is seen as such a HUGE milestone that we rush toward it without regard to our children’s gifts and abilities. Not because we’re bad parents but because we are doing our level-best for our children!

The problem with rushing a process is that sometimes growth is stunted when it should be allowed to flourish.

What do I mean, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. I can give two examples right off the top of my head.

My girlfriend is legally blind in one eye. I was shocked to discover this after we’d been friends for almost 20 years! BLIND! I’d had no idea! The weird thing is that there is nothing physiologically wrong with her eye. She is perfectly capable, from a bricks-and-mortar stand point, of seeing out of that eye.

In childhood, however, something happened (this is already long enough, I’ll just keep it at that) and her brain just stopped trying to see out of it. It believed it couldn’t so stopped making attempts. And so she’s blind. Crazy, huh?

How about the elephant that we’ve all heard of…bound by a tiny rope that it could easily break. However the owner or keeper begins using it when the elephant young and is incapable of breaking free. By the time he’s large enough to tear through the side of a barn, he has learned that the rope limits him. He never questions it.

Do you see where I’m going? During the process of eye development, the brain learned it can’t and so doesn’t try. As the elephant is growing, it knows it can’t, then believes it can’t and no longer attempts.

As a child is being “taught” something that the brain is just too immature to learn, it seems hard! For children who are extreme right frontals, language is just a complete mystery! My Lowell is smart!  But he just couldn’t quite figure out this whole reading thing.

He put his brother to shame with the shapes he created out of magnets (especially rare earth magnets, those tiny, bb-shaped ones that are soon to be illegal?). He lives and breathes geometry…and yet has never “studied” it.

What’s funny is that now that Lowell is reading, he picks things up so quickly!! I’m just amazed! He never learned that he “can’t” or “struggles” with something. I just let him in on the secret that he’s got dyslexia last summer…in the context that it’s an advantage, not disadvantage!

For some fascinating reading, Google something like, “dyslexia advantages” or “what is dyslexia.” It used to be classified as someone who switches letters around or transposes words or numbers. But as research has continued, it’s becoming more accepted that, “It is caused by an impairment in the brain’s ability to translate images received from the eyes or ears into understandable language.”

Hmmmm…sounds like a child who perceives the world through pictures and can’t quite cross that bridge from the pictures to the words describing them or the language to write those words.

But once the bridge has been built, the possibilities are endless. The thing that I’ve heard more than any other and the one that breaks my heart is that a child will “never outgrow dyslexia.”

And my friend will never see out of that eye. And the elephant never snaps the inconsequential rope around his foot.

But what if a child doesn’t know that he can’t or “never will” or whatever? What of my Lowell?

He’s now spelling better than his father (who is also off-the-charts right frontal and one of the worst spellers I’d ever met. And he’s Mensa-level genius). He’s picking up on apostrophes and possessive nouns! Because he sees them, his brain now has a bridge he can cross…and he never learned that he can’t…and so he does!

My point, what is my point? My point is to consider the fact that you’re not a failure if your child struggles to read. Perhaps they were just gifted with something else, something not nearly as valued in our society, the ability to see in pictures, BIG pictures! To create, to dream! They’ll get to the reading part too, but as homeschoolers we are given the unique ability to sit back and allow our children to go at their own pace, not at the pace dictated by Washington, the NEA or any external force.

The other description of dyslexia that makes me gnash my teeth is that it is a disability. The words associated with it are all negative: disability, difficulty with, processing disorder, hinders comprehension, blah blah blah.

But here’s the reality. If you want to travel, you can go by airplane or by boat or by train.

Unless you are concerned with speed, air travel has NO INHERENT value higher than that of traveling by boat or train. In some circumstances, train and boat travel are MUCH more attractive than air! Cruises wouldn’t be so great flying at 500 MPH at 32,000 feet. Or going on a speed boat.

Right frontal-based people are no worse than, no more disabled than, no more hindered than, their right-basal peers except in a society where a premium is placed on reading, reading early, reading a lot and processing all info and learning situations with reading!

In a society where value was placed on creativity, ability to see the big picture, create with math, the right-basals would be considered mentally handicapped. Wouldn’t this be true?

In closing, I’d like to share my favorite quote with you. It was written by a guy named Matthew Kelly, an author, but sometimes erroneously attributed to Mark Twain. Regardless, it’s brilliant.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Bible Study Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

 

This week I wanted to share a very special resource I wrote a couple years back. My prayer is that it may be helpful to some of you as you help your children develop a friendship with Jesus through Bible study. When my husband heard what I was sharing, he asked if HE could write the post, so without further ado, my husband, Arlen Byrd, is the guest writer for today’s post.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Think back with me to the early days of your friendship with your husband, wife or another close friend. For my wife and I, it really began with chats before and after class, then taking evening walks to talk and spending time together at the local climbing gym. As we spent time together and came to know each other, our admiration grew and blossomed into a love and loyal friendship that has carried us through ten years together. Yet it all started with the simple act of being in the same place and spending time together. Isn’t this how all great friendships start?

In our often ridiculously over-filled lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the most important friendship and the simplest of ways to help it grow. Jesus came to this world and revealed Himself to us. And He invites us to get to know Him personally and intimately, in just the same way I know my wife.

Where do we begin? How do we spend time with Jesus? The most well-rehearsed answers we know are: prayer and Bible study.

But stop here again with me. If we’re real with ourselves, many of us aren’t even sure how to study the Bible for ourselves. Sure, we can open the lesson quarterly. Or we can read a chapter. But what about opening the Bible by itself and entering into meaningful study?

Even as a Theology student I didn’t know how to spend time with Jesus through the Bible alone, getting to know Him better and hearing Him speak to me personally. But while spending time with my Laura, now my wife, all that changed.

Remember what we’re after here: a deeply personal and life changing friendship Jesus for ourselves and our children (and anyone else Jesus gives us the chance to share with). Nothing in all the world or eternity is of greater value or importance!

Let me share three simple principles I learned from Laura that God used to totally change my view of Bible study:

  1. Studying the Bible isn’t primarily about gaining knowledge. It is about spending time with Jesus.
  2. There is no one right way to study the Bible. God can use it to speak us personally in as varied and unique of ways as the people He is speaking to.
  3. By taking the time to discover and engage our personal learning styles in Bible study, we can begin to connect with Jesus and internalize His words in a whole new way.

So how can you put these principles into practice for yourself and your children? Here is one way:

As we worked with the Junior Sabbath School class some years ago, we noticed how little opportunity these young people had to learn that Jesus wanted to spend time with them personally through Bible study. And so taking the above principles, with prayer and feedback from others, Laura created My Bible Study Notebook.

This guide is very different from any I’ve seen. It helps you and your children identify your personal learning styles and then discover relevant ways to study the Bible (from getting to know the passage, to diving deeper, to personal application, through to memorizing key verses). Over time, you can develop an arsenal of ways from the guide and your own experimenting that leave you and your kids feeling free to study any part of the Bible with Jesus.

And I have good news! My Bible Study Notebook is a free resource. So you can download it and get started right away!

Just remember, tools are just that, tools. Jesus is the main thing! The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He reveals Himself to us through the Bible, personally and intimately. And He longs to be our living friend and LORD today and always.

Click here to download My Bible Study Notebook.

Click here to download the teacher/parent guide with additional information about learning styles including quizzes to help determine learning style. This information is also helpful with more than just Bible study.

Understanding Charlotte Mason

Who was Charlotte Mason?

Charlotte  Mason (1842-1923) was basically a contemporary of Ellen White (1827-1915). She is considered a British reformer and pioneer in the field of education. Her concept of using living books as a foundation for educating children shaped many of the schools in Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century.

Miss Mason was the founder of the Parents’ National Education Union, in 1887. In 1892 she established the House of Education, which was a teacher training college in Ambleside.

Charlotte Mason believed children’s minds are no different than their bodies. Both require nutritious, varied diets. She felt that the proper diet for one’s mind is ideas, the best and greatest ideas from the finest literature. Hence comes the concept of “living books.” Living books are of high quality, by one author (as opposed to textbooks, written by committee), and read in quantity.

She also believed that children learn best by experiencing subjects with their senses rather than just reading about them. Se encouraged nature walks, to experience and study nature first hand, as well as having each student keep a nature journal.

The tools of a Charlotte Mason education are:

1) Narration

      “Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the process of disciplinary education.” Home Education, p. 231.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that children enjoy telling you what they know about a subject. They’re delighted to tell you about an incident, however small, or an experience they’ve had.

For example, my boys went spelunking last Sabbath with friends from church. My youngest is taking great pleasure in sharing his experiences with anyone who will sit still long enough to listen! (And the more he shares, the more claustrophobic I feel!!)

Now apply this to narration. He isn’t “there” yet. We’re still learning how this works. Ideally, narration is retelling in one’s own words what has just been read. Now, this retelling can be done either orally or written.

Narration gives

  •    Beauty of expression
  •    Recall of material
  •    Increased mental facility
  •    A means of understanding

2) Living Books

     “Children have a right to the best we possess; therefore their lesson books should be, as far as possible, our best books.” A Philosophy of Education, p. 235.

The books we refer to as “classic” are those that have endured and have contributed to our understanding of what it means to be human. They’ve shaped our views of the world and ourselves. They’re the great books of world civilization, and have survived wars, politics, famine, and fire. This great literature encompasses six thousand years of history, and the range and scope is staggering.

Great literature illustrates basic principles of life, and shows how one’s own culture fits into the big picture of history. A living book is one written by an author who’s passionate about his subject. They are living books because the ideas in them have the capacity to grow and transform in the mind, the way a seed germinates and grows.

A living book

  •    Powerfully and beautifully expresses the ideas of the author
  •    The narrative–whether it’s fiction or non-fiction–holds together in a compelling and memorable    way

3) Orality

Orality is the ability to speak and listen, whereas literacy is the ability to read and write. Orality must precede literacy. A very young child is preliterate, and thus has complete primary orality. the child experiences the world by seeing, touching, and hearing. Good cause for delaying formal education, isn’t it?

Storytelling is the highest form of orality. Since earliest times, storytelling has been used to teach. We know the early stories in the Bible were passed down, orally, through the generations. Storytelling improves creative thinking.

4) Nature Study

     “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.” Job 37:14.

     “If we give children regular opportunities to get in touch with God’s creation a habit is formed that will be a source of delight throughout their lives. Many people know little of the natural world because they never take time to observe it. Once our senses are on the alert, though, nature yields treasure after treasure.” A Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola.

Nature is God’s second book. In nature, we learn more about our Creator. each day should have time spent outdoors, and there should be a nature walk at least once a week.

5) Short Lessons

     “Children no more come into the world without provision for dealing with knowledge than without provision for dealing with food. They bring with them not only that intellectual appetite, the desire for knowledge, but also an enormous, an unlimited potential for attention to which the power of memory seems attached.” A Philosophy of Education, p. 76.

Children are born with a desire to learn and acquire knowledge in a variety of subjects. they’re also born with a capacity for attention and remembering. This may not be evident in the classroom, though, as evident by the children’s inattentiveness.

How can this be remedied? Short lessons. Charlotte Mason recommended lessons be no longer than ten minutes long for a child under eight years of age. When the lessons are short and varied, the child’s interest is fresh, and ready for the next subject. For children aged eight to ten, the lessons can be lengthened to twenty minutes, and to thirty minutes for students ten and over.

6) Local resources

A Charlotte Mason, living books education makes use of all that lies within reach: library, home, family, friends, and community. I know as homeschoolers, we certainly know how to make use of all these resources.

As you can see, there are some similarities between Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and the counsel given through Ellen White, and additionally the Moores’ philosophy.

I’m still trying to decide what I think of the use of some of the resources recommended by the Charlotte Mason education, such as fables and fairy tales, and some of the other classical literature. I’d like to find more resources more readily accepted by Seventh-day Adventists.

For more information about Charlotte Mason’s education, check out these websites:

Pets: Learning and Loving

We’re a pet family. We have three dogs, two cats, two frogs, and a snail. Pets are fun, but they’re also a great thing to work into your homeschooling agenda if (and only if) you have a love for animals.

Our dogs have to be fed — three times a day since one is a puppy. They need fresh water, as do the cats. The cats get fed once a day. Kitty litter has to be scooped and/or changed, too. The frogs and even the snail have their own food, and their water tank has to be monitored for temperature and water level. There’s even poop-scooping that needs to be done in the backyard. If you have little ones, get them to “help” you as you care for your pets. Older kids can take over the pet care, as long as you stay aware in case they need occasional reminders.

In our household, I always handled pet care, with help from my son. As he got older, he started looking for “jobs.” We don’t do allowance, since chores around the house are considered being part of the family. (That’s probably an article for another day.) However, he’s allowed to earn money with certain jobs. It occurred to me that I could turn the bulk of the pet care over to him, lessen my own load, and give him a weekly earning opportunity.

I wasn’t even thinking in terms of work-based learning, yet this was clearly happening. Here are some of the learning moments and character values he is gaining.

Responsibility: Pets rely on you. If you don’t feed them, they go hungry. If you don’t potty them, they have accidents. My boy has learned that cats — and their owners — prefer clean littler, how it’s best to feed the dogs so they don’t eat each other’s food, and how to wipe up and disinfect a spot on the floor when he didn’t let them out quickly enough. (NOTE: At age 10, I don’t expect him to remember everything he’s supposed to do and exactly the time to do it, but I do expect him to leap on it as soon as I remind him. I would never put a child entirely in charge of an animal with no adult supervision, because it’s not fair to either child or pet, and could end in tragedy.)

Attentiveness: Is the old dog pacing the floor? Maybe she needs to be put outside for a potty break. Is the puppy suddenly too quiet? He could be chewing something; better go check. I don’t know about your kids, but I’ve determined that 10-year-old boys are the most oblivious creatures on the planet. Helping him be aware of the pets is helping to train that brain to be observant of other things as well.

Placing Something Else First: Sometimes he has to put down the game, or even set aside his schoolwork, because a creature in his care is in need. Life first, busy-ness second.

Patience: One of our doggy crew is 16. Sometimes she gets confused. Sometimes she can’t see the steps to go out at night. My son has learned to wait quietly for her, not to rush her. He watches to see what she needs, and helps her up the stairs. The elderly of every species often need special care and patience.

Neatness: Guess what happens when you leave your shoes on the floor, sock on the bed, TV clicker on a low table, or part of your snack on the couch…and there’s a puppy in the house. That’s right. You don’t do it again. The whole household has become much neater since puppy arrived.

Friendship: You can like a lot of people, but sometimes one clicks in a special way for you. You can own a lot of animals, but sometimes that one cat named Lola becomes a little boy’s special friend from the time he is two. You may have to move across country, your friends may not be able to come out and play, you may have days when you feel like nobody loves you — but Lola is always there. Do you know Another like that?

Beyond these traits, our pets have shown Micah — possibly even better than a flawed parent can — the meaning of true, unconditional love. At the end of the day, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, no matter if your mom lectured you about cleaning up the kibble, and your dad grouched about the kitty litter, your pets still love you. There’s pretty much nothing you can do to come between yourself and that love.

Happy petschooling.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38, 39 KJV.

Dogs Don’t Chase Parked Cars

When I first married my loving husband, Michael, he worked for the South Pacific Division of the SDA church, here in Australia. We lived in a comfortable home owned by the Division office, that was located on a main thoroughfare of traffic. We had a gaggle of pets, a new born baby and a beautiful collie dog named Prince. Prince was gifted to us via a neighbour, who had sadly parted from him as he accepted a call to mission work, in Papua New Guinea.

Prince, a large and active dog, was handsome in every way. His rough, long, full coat of fur shimmered with tones of cream, white and tan, while flecks of sable flanked his face. He was elegant and graceful in his movements, appearing to float over the ground as he ran joyously around our grassy yard. Prince was charming, loyal and affectionate in every way, responsive to Michael and I. His deep brown eyes in his wedge shaped head, held a look of intelligence, excitement and love. He was a devoted dog, soft and gentle with our growing baby. Prince was the perfect family dog but he had one major weakness, his love for chasing cars.

Collie dogs historically come from Scotland and England where they have, for many centuries, lived as working dogs, herding cattle and sheep. Their main task as drover dogs was to guide the cattle and sheep to the markets. In the 1860’s, the then reigning regal Queen Victoria, visited the picturesque Scottish Highlands, fell in love with the collie dog and brought this breed into popularity. The beautiful collie dog was thrust into the limelight in 1943 with the release of the Hollywood Movie, “Lassie Come Home” and the subsequent movies and television series has kept this breed in demand.

Our gorgeous Prince had all the personality and tenaciousness of Lassie mixed in with the desire to run and herd of the Scottish Highland canine of long ago. Our fully fenced yard kept Prince’s desire to chase cars safely contained. One night, however, while we lay sleeping exhaustedly between  the feeding times of our newly born daughter, a neighbour frantically started knocking at our bedroom window and calling out anxiously to us. Startled out of a deep sleep, my husband attended to our neighbour. Our darling Prince had managed to escape from our yard and had dashed up our road ,that was frequented with traffic, to enjoy his past time of ‘herding cars’. On this occasion however, Prince was hit. With eagerness he had crouched by the road side waiting for his next car, a hunter green rover. Prince leaped out for the chase, but in his anticipation of the thrill before him, his timing was out, and instead of finding himself racing wildly after the car, barking in frenzied delight, he ran straight into the side of the car. The thud and the crumpled, forlorn, isolated figure of a dog by the roadside, seen in the review mirror, alerted the driver. He stopped and upon inspection of his car, which had been damaged, he set out to find the owner, discovering our friendly neighbour in the process. My husband exchanged contact details with the owner of the expensive rover, and scooping our bedraggled dog into his arms, he lovingly brought him home.

Prince had been tragically injured. After X-rays and an examination at the local vet it was ascertained his two front legs had been painfully broken. Patiently he endured his time spent at the vets where his front legs were placed in  fibre glass casts and bandaged, making walking almost impossible, or so we thought. With all the perseverance of his breed he did manage his own version of hobbling as we faithfully cared for him. Meanwhile, all was not well with the owner of the dark, mossy, green, expensive rover. It seemed our dog had chosen to plummet feet first into the car of an insurance con man. He was known by insurance companies for his dishonest claims. Initially, he used all his charms to convince us to cover the costs of the damage to his car, which he was increasing dramatically by the day. I prayed. We prayed. God heard our cry for help. In a panic of despair I was led to call our insurance company for advice, only to discover a small clause in own home contents policy that covered damage created by pets, even to ones that chase cars. Joyfully, we contacted the Rover owner to let him know he could deal directly with our insurance provider. Anger, bullying and control tactics were all used to coerce us into dropping our insurance company from the situation. We were legally able to prevent all contact with the intimidating man, discovered his history and left his predicament with our insurance company to handle. We knelt in thankful praise to God for his financial protection.

Prince went on to heal, his desire to herd cars remained, but our vigilance prevented him from anymore opportunities to fulfil his  doggy dreams. Dogs don’t chase parked cars. They chase cars that are moving speedily forward. Sometimes in life it can feel like the devil is just chasing us down. He knows how to hit us hard when God is doing great things in our lives. Crises after crises tumbles one upon the other in quick succession, finances crumble, health stumbles, relationships falter, hearts break, death stalks and patience is tried. God seems silent and life feels chaotically spiralling into a dark place. Keep moving forward. Keep holding on to God, persevere in prayer, talk faith, think faith, sing praises even when you don’t feel like it. Keep on keeping on with Jesus. God is moving you into the purpose for your life. Dogs don’t chase parked cars. God is moving you forward into all that He has for you. There is a rainbow after the rain and the dawn comes after the darkest of nights. Hold on to Jesus, He’s holding onto you.

Eph 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places

James 4:7,8 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.