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In chapter three of “Hints on Child Training,” Trumbull really starts to reveal the weight of responsibilities we, as parents, are privileged to carry as we raise our children.

First, he clarifies that we can train a child in the way s/he can go to his/her fullest extent, but we can’t train a child according to another’s capabilities.  We must keep in mind that some children are hindered with specific limitations that others might not have to struggle through, like blindness, learning disabilities, or physical limitations. However, Trumbull states, “the range is wide within the limitations of possible results from the training process.”

He continues:

A nervous temperament, cannot, it is true, be trained into a phlegmatic one or a phlegmatic temperament be trained into a nervous one; but a child who is quick and impulsive can be trained into moderation and carefulness of speech and of action, while a child who is sluggish and inactive can be trained rapidity of movement and to energy of endeavor….

The sure limitations of a child’s possibilities of training are obvious to a parent.  If one of the physical senses be lacking to the child, no training will restore that sense, although wise training will enable the child to overcome many of the difficulties that meet him as a consequence of his native lack…

In other words, if the child be grievously deformed or defective at birth, or by some early casualty, there is an inevitable limitation accordingly to the possibilities of his training.  But if a child be in possession of an ordinary measure of faculties and capacity, his training will decide the manner and method and extent and the use of his God-given powers.

It is, therefore, largely a child’s training that settles the question whether a child is graceful or awkward in his personal movements… whether he is faithful in his studies, or is neglectful of them…  In all these things his course indicates what his training has been; or it suggests the training that he needed, but has missed.

These are incredibly sobering points.  I think he’s placing the responsibility we, as parents have always held but sometimes never knew it.  Our society makes it easy for us to relinquish our role as trainer to our children in the name of “self expression,” and “phases.”  We don’t stop our children from throwing fits because we don’t want them to “stuff their emotions,” so we leave them alone to their own out-of-control demise and ignore them until they’re “over it” (or until the next time they hit another wave of intense emotion they don’t know how to handle), just as the parenting books say to do.  Instead, the temper tantrum was an ideal time to lovingly intervene and guide the child through their emotions while informing and enforcing what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.  If we leave them to their own devices and let them sort it out for themselves never having guided them through a similar situation, their growth will be tragically stunted.

We, as parents, must reclaim our role in our children’s lives.  Despite what we are fed through the airwaves and this culture, we hold a lot of control over our children.  We also love them more than anyone but the Lord.  We must marry our love for them and desire for them to thrive with necessary discipline and training that will accomplish a rich, strong, influential life for them.  “TRAIN a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (Emphasis added.)

All Aboard! Hints on Child Training

Hints on Child Training: The Duty of Training Children
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Apple Spice Cake

Apple Spice Cake

 

 

 

Here is my last apple recipe for this year’s apple season.  My parents’ friends, the Lockwoods, introduced us to this recipe from Bon Appetite years ago, and my mouth still waters just thinking about it.  The topping totally makes this cake.

 

Apple Spice Cake

Yields one 10″ tube pan.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

With an electric mixer, blend:

1 1/2 C oil (I use expeller pressed coconut oil and avoid any veggie oils.  Expeller pressed doesn’t taste like coconut and veggie oils have too many omega 6 fatty acids.)

1 1/2 C sugar

1 1/2 C packed brown sugar (I omit these 2 sugars and use 3 C Rapadura and it comes out wonderfully)

3 eggs, added one at a time, blending after each addition

Add gradually with same mixing method:

3 C flour (I use spelt or kamut, but you can use all-purpose or a mixture)

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

Fold 3 1/2 cups apples, diced or grated, into the above mix.  Turn into a greased and floured tube pan and bake 1 1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. (May take longer than 1 1/4 hours.)

Topping:

Butter, brown sugar (rapadura does NOT work for this), white sugar (or agave nectar, but it will be more runny), and half-and-half — 3 Tbsp. each.

Vanilla — 1/2 tsp.

Almond or walnut pieces — 1 cup

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT THE NUTS in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Let boil for 1 minute.  Pour over cake immediately and then sprinkle the nuts over the topping.

Bon Appetite!

Apple Kuchen
This recipe has moved to this eHow link.

Apple Crisp Recipe

This article has moved to this site.  Click here!

May I just rant with you for a moment?

Today, after a pleasant day at the park where I was particularly proud of all my kids for playing so nicely with the others, we went to the grocery store.  It was an agreeable trip at first.  As we were checking out, my kids were all helping put food on the check-out stand.  A couple items got dropped but that’s to be expected.  Thankfully, nothing broke.  The store was pretty empty, so a worker decided to “help” my kids and I empty the cart.  After trying to weave in between my kids to “help” us with the groceries (didn’t she notice I had plenty of help?), she said, “You need a nanny.”  What?!  I could see her saying that on one of those shopping trips where my kids are more wired and loud and whiney, but they were being helpful!  Was it because I had four children?  Was it because my four-year-old dropped a jar of artichoke hearts?  He picked them right back up.  They weren’t damaged.  What solicited that comment?  

I’ve had several “big family” comments made to me, most of them at the checkout stand at the grocery store: “You’ve got you hands full” is the most common.  Someone said that when I only had two of my kids with me, and they weren’t even making any noise!  And then there’s always, “Wow, four kids!  You do know how this works, don’t you?”  or “Someone better get them a TV.” and “Well, someone’s gotta do it.”  Have kids, that is.  Yes, and apparently it shouldn’t be you, mister.  When they ask me if I’m gonna have more and I say, “Maybe!”  They look at me like I just told them the Russians invaided.  My favorite was when a man walked by, looked at my preggo belly and my brood surrounding our cart and said, “God bless you.” My then 5-year-old said in a voice loud enough for him to hear, “Mommy, he knows God!  He blessed us!”  I seriously get comments like these EVERY time I go grocery shopping!  What the heck?!

I love having four kids!  I’d love to have more!  I happen to think they are a blessing and not a burden!  Thankfully, sometimes a kind elderly lady will smile and say, “Your children are so well behaved!” or “I had (4+) kids, too!  I loved it!  Enjoy these times, they go by so fast!”  I try to cling to these comments and shrug off the other ones.

People, really.  If you see a mother with more than two children at the supermarket (or anywhere, for that matter), please don’t spout off whatever you feel like saying.  We are not here for your proverbial target practice.  Remember what your mama taught you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  

Thank you for letting me rant.  I feel better now.
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My husband has been on the road this week.  Customarily, when he’s away, I make the kids’ favorite dinners as a little something to look forward to while we wait for his return.  Tonight, we made Simply Organic Mac & Cheese, but I needed something a bit greener, so here’s what I came up with:

 

Mac & Cheese Ensalada

Mac & Cheese Ensalada

It was actually pretty good!  It’s amazing what one can come up with using whatever is found in the kitchen.  And my 2-year-old thought it looked appetizing enough to ask for some!  It was just baby greens, avacado, walnuts, garlic-stuffed green olives, homemade ranch made with kefir, and of course, mac and cheese.  I love weird ideas that turn out to work!  

So what kind of creative meals have you come up with?  I bet there are enough untapped ideas out there to fill a whole cook book!  Wouldn’t that be fun?  We could call it the “Whatever’s in the Kitchen Cookbook” or something!  Hey, let’s do it!  Do you have any ideas for the cookbook name or weird but yummy recipes?  They can be super-simple.  I’ll compile them all and post our very own cookbook!  Common, it’ll be fun!
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I feel the need to throw a disclaimer out.  Upon first reading this book, I wrestled with lots of feelings.  After waves of indigence, bits of anger, and hints of offense, I mostly felt ashamed and disqualified as a parent.  But after all the fighting, I realized what he wrote was a very hard-to-swallow truth.  Trumbull does dish it out quite forthrightly, but it was my own insecurities getting in the way of a potentially life-changing experience.  I don’t claim to have it all together in the least, but I do pray that through this book and some “discussion” with y’all that I might grow and mature in my “child training.”

Continuing into chapter two of “Hints on Child Training,” (if you want to read the first post, click here), Trumbull dives right into it:

It is the mistake of many parents to suppose that their chief duty is in loving and counseling their children, rather than in loving and training them; that they are faithfully to show their children what they ought to do, rather than to make them do it.  The training power of the parent is, as a rule, sadly undervalued.

Too many parents seem to take it for granted that because their children are by nature very timid and retiring, or very bold or forward; very extravagant in speech and manner, or quite disinclined to express even a dutiful sense of gratitude and trust; reckless in their generosity, or pitiably selfish; disposed to overstudy, or given wholly to play; one-sided in this, or in that, or in the other, trait or quality or characteristic — therefore those children must remain so; unless, indeed, they outgrow their faults or are induced by wise counsel and loving entreaty to overcome them…

…Every child is in a sense a partially developed, an imperfectly formed child.  There are no absolutely perfect children in this world.  All of them need restraining in some things and stimulating in others.  And every imperfect child can be helped toward a symmetrical character by wise Christian training.  Every home should be an institution for the treatment of imperfectly developed children.  Every father and every mother should be a skilled physician in charge of such an institution.  There are glorious possibilities in this direction; and there are weighty responsibilities, also.

 

Keep in mind this book was written in 1890.  The words “institution” and “treatment” were not how they’re viewed today.  It sounds like such a sterile, rigid environment he’s suggesting to raise children in, but he really isn’t.  Lots of warmth flood into the next chapters, but do continue to keep in mind that this book was penned over 100 years ago, and certain words have taken on new meanings and vibes sense then.

This chapter helped me realize I fall prey to this “hands tied” attitude of parenting all the time.  My daughter would be bossing a group of kids around at a play date or something, and I would just sit back and chuckle, “What can I say?  She’s a leader.  Hopefully she’ll grow out of this bossy phase someday.”  But really, it was my job to get involved in that situation right then and there and lovingly train her how to behave appropriately with her friends.  Perhaps she is a leader, but no one will want to follow her if her parents never hone her skills.  Besides, I’d rather the correction be coming from me than a child or someone else who doesn’t love her as much and know her as well as I do.
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Tonight we had devotions outside because there was an amazing, huge, orange harvest moon out.  We read about creation, and afterwards Levi (4) said as he looked at the moon, “It’s kinda like God’s puzzle.”  I asked him what he meant and he replied, “When God made everything, He put it all together like a puzzle.”  Maybe a bit off theologically, but I love how little minds think! 🙂

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I find it amusing that most of my spiritually-based posts have “bread” in their titles.  I love bread.  If only ontological bread was as nourishing as the metaphorical one.  I miss the nineties.  Carbs were good for you in the nineties.  Atkins, really.  Why did you go and start this low-carb revolution?  That, my friends, was me following a little bunny down a trail…

Back on the path…  I’m going through a book my parents gave me a few years ago called, “Sleeping with Bread, Holding What Gives You Life.”  The title was inspired by the story of thousands of children who were orphaned in WWII and left to starve.  Some of the children in the refugee camps couldn’t sleep because they were afraid they’d wake up and have nothing to eat.  One of their caretakers decided to give them all a loaf of bread to sleep with so they would have assurance of food to eat the next day.  The children then slept peacefully.  The bread reminded them “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”

The book is based off of The Spiritual Exercises founded by St. Ignatius, where we listen for God to speak through times of consolation (what brings life and connects us to God) and desolation (what drains and disconnects us from God).  For instance, when I look at my now sparkling house after a long, hard, frequently interrupted day of deep cleaning, it is a moment of consolation for me.  What is God speaking to me in this?  When I am tired and melancholy and I lose my patience with the kids, that is an instance of desolation.  What is God speaking to me through this situation?

I realized that when I am in a season of consolation, when I feel close to the Lord, I am also spending lots of time outside working the soil and tending to plants.  I hear Him speak to me and so many parables and passages start to make more sense.  I want to give Him my adoration and worship by doing what God originally put us in Eden to do, to “work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15, ESV).  

When I’m in a season of desolation, when I feel furthest away from God, I realize it’s when I’m thinking about myself a lot.  For some reason or another, my devotional time has dwindled, and situations start knocking me around harder than normal.  Then worry, insecurity, doubt, and loneliness sets in.  My mind becomes consumed with finding fleshly, potentially destructive things to pacify my bad feelings with.  I eat an unbalanced amount of comfort foods (mainly bready sweets like cookies and cakes), waste time online shopping looking for something new to need, and avoid going outdoors because its a little too hot or cold or windy for my comfort.  I wonder why I feel so distant from God.  Why isn’t He speaking to me?  Then, I realize the lack of focused time I have spent with Him and where I veered off the road.

The examen is also a way to find out what our individual “sealed orders” are from the Lord.  Sealed orders are the unique purpose God has for each individual here on earth that He put in our very DNA.  The more we discover and carry out our sealed orders, the more our lives are filled with consolation.  This was a new idea to me.  Growing up in our church, I interpreted certain teachings that whatever you wanted to do least of all, that’s what God was telling you to do.  I don’t doubt there are times when God does have things for us to do as part of our sealed orders, like Jonah going to Nineveh, but I don’t think our actual sealed orders are the opposite of what we love.  This was a freeing revelation to me.  It’s actually OK to do what I enjoy.  In fact, God put that desire in me to fulfill His plans for me.

I particularly like the idea of doing the examen over dinnertime with the family and observing special ones on holidays (on the 4th of July, share what we’re most and least grateful for in our country, on New Year’s we share what’s brought the most and least consolation over the past year, etc.).  I’d like to start incorporating these in our family life and holidays as a way of enriching those times together.

This whole “examen” thing has really added salt to my time with the Lord.  I feel an exchange between Him and I when I observe it.  It has helped me to slow down and listen.  My Father truly is talking to me throughout the day.  I just need to take the time to listen.

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It’s already mid September!  I am realizing the more kids I have, the faster time  flies (meaning, if I don’t start making Christmas gifts now, they won’t be done until February).  Times are a wee bit on the tight side, so being extra creative with the funds is an exciting challenge this year.  But I need help.  I’m running out of ideas.  

A couple years back, I made little family favorite Christmas recipe booklets, which has been my favorite idea yet (complements of Organized Christmas), and just about every year I make little plates of goodies, but I need new ideas!  Can you help me, please?  ANY ideas!
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Drought weights the trees, and from the farmhouse eaves
The locust, pulse-beat of the summer day,
Throbs; and the lane, that shambles under leaves
Limp with the heat–a league of rutty way –
Is lost in dust; and sultry scents of hay
Breathe from the panting meadows heaped with sheaves.

– from "The Rain-Crow" by Madison Cawein (1865 – 1914)

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