When you’re still homesick

I’ve lived in this place now since last June, so I’ve been here a year and a quarter. Though now I’m just beginning to find a sense of belonging, I am still homesick.

When I’m homesick I get a little restless. I wonder if I’ll ever have friends like I did in Atlanta. I wonder if I’ll find camaraderie in a group like I had in Rochester.

And then I look at what the Lord is doing and I’m grateful.

Meanwhile, He’s taken me to a place where we might be the most unchurched in America. I heard this Sunday, that this city has the highest percent of people who followed God and then left. Wow.

We all strive for a feeling of belonging. We want to be known and to know others.

Today I was privileged to have a dear woman share with me her plight with cancer and how delicately and intricately God planned her rescue. A year that felt like one hit after another, lined up opportunities and circumstance that allowed for her care. She was so vulnerable. I cried with her, even if only on the inside. She is amazing. She is stronger. God has a future for her. He’s not done crafting the quilt of her life.

I’m completely taken by this God who cares so deeply and perfectly for our needs.

And I know He sees mine.

So while I spend my days trying to be less selfish and focus on learning about others, I remember my own heart cries out to Abba Father, and says “see my need”.

By the way, this post is not a ding on any of my friends here. You’re doing a fine job. It takes time to build intimacy. And one year doesn’t equal 25 years in another city. I’m not comparing you as friends. I’m considering my own sense of belonging. That’s all. And I figure, since I have lots of friends who are new to this town too, that you can probably relate. So, I send my love to you too! It’s okay to be vulnerable.

The Most Amazing Visual Bible Memory Tool You’ll Ever Meet, for Visual Learners (duh!)

I have just outlined the most jaw dropping mnemonic tool for VISUAL Learners related to studying and memorizing scripture.

Here’s the major premise of the mnemonic for you.

By the way, in this Visual Bible Memory World, here’s what the continents are:

  • The Land of Law (North America)
  • The Land of History (Europe)
  • The Land of Poetry (Asia)
  • The Land of Prophets (South America)
  • The Land of Gospels (Africa)
  • The Land of Letters (Australia)
  • The Land of Prophesy (Antarctica)

I’m telling you this, because it’s hard to see in the way that Prezi moves so quickly. But if you label your contents the way I listen, then you could draw a fake equator, almost right across the globe where the top half is the Old Testament, and the bottom half of the globe is the New Testament. Except that you have to put South America above this fake equator. Still, for a visual learner, this works just fine.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.19.36 PM

Here’s the second example for you.Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.19.50 PM

There. I hope you start using this mnemonic devise for you and your kids, and share it with any other visual learners you know. If you went through both slide shows then you will earnestly understand the value of that kind of visualization.

P.S. If you have an auditory learner, they might learn this by repeating after you and hearing you say it. You can also ascribe a quick theme songs to Lands, and Towns if that would help them with the association. Maybe the Land of History uses a Super Hero theme, and each Town uses a different super hero’s theme song. Hear what I’m singing?

If you have a kinesthetic learner, you could build a model world, and a model town as you’re studying. Or, you could make lift-the-door flaps for one chapter you’re memorizing and put a picture behind each door to trigger your memory about that verse, like a lap book. You could associate a certain smell with each Land. Maybe the Land of Revelation smells like peppermint (because we need to wake up when we read Revelation!). Or maybe the the Land of Letters feels like sand (touch some sand because Australia is a huge island), while the Land of Poetry feels like rice (touch some rice because it’s in Asia and Chinese food comes with rice). Can you feel what I’m pushing?

Have fun getting the Word in you!,

Robyn Cooper

Breakfast Club: Scheduling

We are talking all about scheduling today!

I want you to think about how you’re ordering your days, and the heart of what you’re really trying to accomplish. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 So much of orderliness is actually about energy management. As you think about what you can try improving this month, pick one or two experiments you can try. Really try them! Put the excuses aside.

Do this as homework if you can make the time:

  • What are the signs you have scheduling problems?
  • What excuses do you make? How can you overcome them?
  • What’s your life purpose? The purpose you have for this year? What’s your purpose today? 
  • How are your spending your time? How are you assessing how you did each day, week, month, quarter, year?
  • How do you keep track of things? Time, money, physical objects, obligations, promises?
  • What season of life are you in? There’s absolutely seasonality to our lives. Where are you? A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8

Here are some experiments you can try to use to improve your life. Pick 1 or 2 and work on those with intense focus this month. Ask God for His help. I really mean it. Set your tasks before God and ask Him about it. My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2

What I’m about to tell you are things I work on in my own life. Curate your time and your life.

A little pain (hard work) up front pays off in spades! This is going to be hard, because you’re changing a habit. That’s hard! Give yourself more time for whatever experiment you choose.

  1. The busier you are, the more time you should spend praying reflecting and planning. Review your schedule once a week with your significant other, or, if you’re single, with an accountability partner. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
  2. Outsource what you can. Think creatively. Recruit and ask for help. Here are some ideas. Record yourself giving lessons to your children! Use a mother’s helper – they can be as young as 8 years old. Train your helpers with great rewards! They can be a reading buddy, a school buddy, a meal prepper, a cleaner, a gardener, a playmate, and more! The more you have at a time, the better you may be. Think in numbers. Like, 2-3 mother’s helpers at a time is better than 1, because 1 can entertain your kids while the others do other work.
  3. Form right habits. Think of 1-2 bad habits your kids have and work diligently at reversing them. Here are some examples. Have kids make beds before they eat breakfast. Clean up meals before they play, even for 2 year olds! Pray before they whine or complain – I need to do this one! Pack the night before. Even set out the clothes if you can. Wake up earlier if you need to in order to accomplish this important feat.
  4. Do the same things on same days of the week at the same time if you can. Your body your mind your spirit getting accustomed to these things. God honors you when you honor Him. Try preparing a menu for the week, and do it the 2nd week as well! See if that helps you. If it does, do it again with a second set of meals for weeks 3 & 4. Then you’ll have variation for the following month, and you can alternate menus A & B. If you’re family wants more variety, do your meal plan again in week 6. Then rotate menus A, B & C. Get the picture? 
  5. Use shortcuts. Here are some examples: Sometimes use paper plates and have a picnic instead of setting the dinner table. Buy a prepared dinner. Use trader joes to buy frozen veggies sometimes. Have your veggies delivered. Carpool. Trade tasks with friends. Maybe a friend would grocery shop for you while you teach kids or do homework with kids. Maybe a friend would cook once a week for you, if you cook for them once a week. Maybe someone is better at a task you despise. Trade! Look up life hacks. Try them! See what helps.
  6. Measure your time.  Find out where your inefficiencies are and manage them better. Figure out how long things take you and budget your time like you do your money. It’s a resource too. Cull out time-killers and priority-killers and budget in 1 or 2 more replacements. Work hard at this! Notice how it’s impacting your energy. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28 
  7. Keep an energy log. Put your high priority activities in this space in your life. Leave the rest for lower energy times. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17
  8. Conjoin activities. Do errands with a friend. It may take 10 minutes longer to drive to each other, but then you get to go on a friend date. Walk or clean or make food, and talk on the phone. Work out together. Pray together. Do your Bible study together. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom Psalm 90:12
  9. Have no make up days.
  10. Batch process – do the essentials, but do them bigger. Like pack lunches in bulk. Cook in bulk. Shop in bulk. Season and marinate before you freeze.
  11. Here are some you all thought of: write down your successes each night. Write down your successes. Make a hit list for the day and do those 2-3 must-do’s. Find an accountability partner.

Okay, here are a few book recommendations. If you don’t have time to read these, listen to them in the car or the shower, or in the bathroom… wherever! But don’t be someone who never really tries to change! Force your habits to bend for the better. We’re never really stagnant. We’re always moving forward or backward in life.

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (this is life changing!)
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen
  • Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
  • The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
  • Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (maybe my least favorite, but still good… it’s just that the others really are so good!

Finally, just know that you are worth it! Your children are worth it! You will change your life, and their lives by doing your best. And go into the day, knowing you do your best already!! I know you do! “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah” Psalm 39:4-5




Sensory Games

Sensory Games

GROUP games for review time

  • Musical chairs (place questions/ categories or cards on each chair)
  • Fly swatter (swat the questions/ categories or cards to answer)
  • Bean bag toss / catch (repeat the answer as your tossing the bean bag to a partner)
  • Mother May I (march, baby steps, jump, hop, skip, frog jump, scissor steps, scoot on the booty, duck waddle, crab walk, deer leap, snake slither, pirouette, etc)
  • 4 corners (amy mitby’s game)
  • Draw back (Draw on each others backs with a finger)
  • Snowball fight (get cotton balls for right answers… when all the answers are done, throw cotton balls at each other)
  • Marco Polo (when someone is tagged answer a question, you could say questions and answers instead of Marco Polo “apud, with”)
  • Wall Tag (tag the answer on the wall, answers taped with painters tape throughout room)
  • Freeze Tag, Blob Tag (the ‘it’ person tags someone and they answer a question – they can help each other if needed)
  • Freeze dance (answer a question together when music stops)
  • Twister (colors represent categories)
  • Hopscotch (questions in spaces)
  • Obstacle course (get to go thru when you answer a question)
  • Hot potato (sing history sentence… when it stops you don’t want to be holding the potato… answer a question if you are holding the potato when the music stops)
  • Pretend to be a ____ today (cowboy hands lasso answers, safari with a butterfly net and canteen catching answers, hunter shooting the answer)
  • Pick up items with toes only (items could represent categories or questions)

SOLO  games for review time (some of these can be group games)

  • Silly voices
  • Eyes closed, tongue out, fish lips, opera, king, robot, baby, etc)
  • Hand motions
  • Dress the tutor
  • Metronome movement – say the answers to the beat
  • Hide small items in a sensory bin, each item represents a question or category
  • Blow up a balloon and watch it fly away, or pop it
  • Swing and say
  • Rope Climb and say
  • Mummies in the dark (answer questions while wrapped up)

In-between resetting items

  • Vowel stretch – make body like each vowel, folding and unfolding the body, while deeply inhaling and pronouncing the vowel on the exhale
  • Joint compression
  • Body brushing
  • Swinging
  • Pulling or pushing the wagon
  • Carry something heavy, put something heavy on lap

Sensory play for geography or letters / numbers (add spray-bottle with water for another dimension or toys to run through medium):

  • Shaving cream
  • Sand, dry or wet
  • Lotion
  • Pudding
  • Gelatin
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Grains, cooked or raw
  • Spaghetti, cooked or raw
  • Theraputty / weighted arm or leg bands
  • Cornstarch
  • Tissue and (1 part glue, 2 parts water) to paint on tissue and lift off paper to leave color behind
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Slushie
  • Slurpee
  • Shake
  • Toothpicks and food
  • Custard
  • Gently warm 2 tsp cornflour, 1 tbsp sugar, vanilla extract, 2 cups milk or milk substitute. Let cook before play.
  • Playdough
  • Gently warm until ball forms in pot: 2 c flour, 1 c salt, 4 tsp cream of tartar, 2 c water, 4 tsp veggie oil. Optionally add sand, safe smelly oils, or glitter. Store in airtight container.
  • Ornament dough
  • ½ cup cinnamon, ½ cup applesauce, 1 tsp glue is optional, mix and roll to ½” thick, make a hole with toothpicks, and let dry 10 hours


Note: could set up review centers that parents help administer

GROUP games

  • Jeopardy
  • War (person who flips the higher card gets to answer the question. If they get it wrong the other person gets to try and answer. Correct answerer gets cards).
  • Headbandz (put clues on your head and try to give the wearer clues or answers to guess what it is)

Group OR solo

  • Number Dice + Color Dice (color indicates subject, # indicates review week)
  • I spy / I see a steamboat coming / Memory detective – give clues to the question or answer… This is all the same game. “I see a steamboat coming and it’s loaded with…”
  • Penny Toss or ping pong toss (into numbered muffin tins or cups)
  • Clothesline cards (clothes pin cards to a string, see how long you can make it)
  • Treasure hunt (hide cards in the room and find and answer them)
  • Bingo
  • Penny for your thoughts (correct answers get a penny)
  • Sports skills (answer so you can try to kick a ball into the goal, etc)
  • Build a tower, shoot it down
  • Make a story
  • Any board game (answer before your turn)
  • Draw a picture
  • Build a lego man
  • Hangman (right answers mean you can go again, wrong answers add a body part. Or you can use actual hangman with a secret code the kids discover as they get to guess a letter with each right answer).


  • Quiz bowl (cards in a bowl)
  • Banana grams
  • Penny for your thoughts / sweet thoughts (earn a penny or candy for each answer)
  • Draw what you see / hear
  • Math 500 (math review)
  • Make a museum (find items that represent memory work, set up around the home, and explain to dad when he gets home)
  • Target #
  • String beads while listening (make a bracelet for right answers)
  • Make a pasta tower (string pasta on spaghetti, stick spaghetti in putty or play dough to make it stand up, get more pasta for right answers)
  • Marble pictures (marbles rolling around tray through paint) while listening