Have you ever had one of those seasons where it feels like your mind has been suddenly flooded with thoughts, concerns, and ideas, but when you consider the hours there are in a day and the limited years you have left on this earth that there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do it all and then you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know what to do or where to start and you get dizzy and you suddenly want to zone out to something mindless?  Let me catch my breath for a minute…  Ok, I’m better now, thanks.  Well, that’s where I’ve been for the past few days.

After experiencing the aforementioned mess of thoughts and feelings, I finally attained the wherewithal to stop and cry out to my Heavenly Father for HELP!!!!  Lord, what am I supposed to do with all this?  I feel these issues filling my thoughts and emotions are all so important!  I have a newfound interest in politics, economics, and ethical issues, and old-found interests in health, spiritual formation and discipline, parenting, family life, gardening, survival skills, natural childbirth, dancing, acting, writing, reading…  the list goes on.  I’ve been blessed with four amazing children, and want to raise them well.  How, Lord, can I be a good steward with my family and not ignore all you’ve placed in my heart?  “Do few things and do them well” are words I live by, but these aren’t a “few things!”

Suddenly it dawned on me (dare I say… the Lord did spaketh unto me?).  Maybe some of these interests aren’t what I should devote my life to.  Maybe… just maybe… I’m supposed to explore a little into each of these interests and expose my findings to spark a fire in those around me, namely my children?  

My son is fascinated with germs and body function.  When I took him to the ER to stitch up his little facial gash last month, he never cried once as I expected him to do.  Instead, he was irresistibly drawn to everything in the examining room and interested in the procedure of how the doctors mended him.  He wanted to see it all, and I took pictures for him so he could later observe what was going on.  He said it was one of his favorite nights!  I am enthralled with alternative medicine, and would love to take courses to further my education, but can’t find the time.  Maybe Levi and I will connect on this issue and he’ll be the one to go into the profession.

Bekah, my oldest, is rather talented in the fine arts.  I always wanted to go Broadway, but decided (after a quick dabbling in the entertainment department at Disneyland) that I’d rather have a family.  Perhaps putting on little plays with her and drawing together will turn into more than just playtime as she matures.

Suddenly, I am understanding more about “quiver-filling.”  I am referring to Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the

LORD,

the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are children of one’s youth.

Blessed is the man

who fills his quiver with them!

He shall not be put to shame

when he speaks with his enemies in

the gate.

Well, we currently have four children I love dearly, but I have more than four ideas and plenty of love for more, and that’s not including my husband’s interests and love.  Maybe we need to have a little discussion about how many little arrows we’re meant to acquire…

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Sauteed Mediterranean Green Beans

Sauteed Mediterranean Green Beans

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Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

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This fourth chapter in Hints on Child Training hit a tender nerve in me.  In this chapter, Trumbull exhorts parents to critically look at, but especially get outside input on their children’s most prominent shortcomings so as to know what to focus on while training them.  To be uncomfortably honest, I have yet to get up the nerve to ask even my parents (who would be the gentlest of responders that I know of) to help  me out with this (but I plan to this week, I promise).  I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it’s the “mamma bear” instinct in me that rises up anytime anyone says anything remotely negative about my kids.  I know my children have their faults just like anyone else but I don’t want to hear about them from someone besides my husband (and sometimes not even from him, if I’m honest).  I’ve had a pretty tactless remark said to me about one my children, and I had to control myself before I flew off the handle and I wanted to disregard what was spouted out because it was said in such a heartless way, but Trumbull states:

The unfriendly criticisms of neighbors, and the kind suggestions of friends, are not to be despised by a parent in making up an estimate of his child’s failings and faults.  Rarely is a parent so discerning, so impartial, and so wise, that he can know his children through and through, and be able to weigh the several traits, and perceive the every imperfection and exaggeration of their characters, with unerring accuracy and absolute fairness.

Humph.  I know my children “through and through.”  They’re practically perfect in every way.  So there.  But… maybe there are some imperfections somewhere in there.  Maybe their shortcomings are a little clouded by my adoration of them.  Maybe… maybe I could consider some outsider input.  Maybe I should try and sieve through that tactless remark about my child and see if didn’t actually come from nowhere.  Maybe this “insight” can allow me to see what I couldn’t see on my own and help me to lovingly train my child in becoming a more Christlike person.

He closes this hard-for-me-to-swallow chapter, stating:

Parents need help from others, from personal friends whom they can trust to speak with impartiality and kindness, or from the teachers of their children, in the beginning of a proper estimate and understanding of their children’s characteristics and needs.  The parent who does not realize this truth, and act on it, will never do as well as might be done for his or her child.  God has given the responsibility of the training of that child to the parent; but He has also laid on that parent the duty of learning, by the aid of all proper means, what are the child’s requirements, and how to meet them.

I love how he flat out states it is our responsibility as parents to train our children.  Not the school’s, not the Sunday school’s, not the youth group’s or marshal arts class’s, but our responsibility.  I also appreciate how he rounds it out by reminding us parents it is our job to educate ourselves to be the most quality parents we can be.  Many have gone before us.  There’s much to learn.  So much is out there at our disposal, we just have to make the choice to pursue further educating and informing ourselves for the sake of our children as our God-given responsibility.

This is my challenge for the week, and I challenge you to do it, too.  Ask a kind and trusted friend to help you see your children’s weakness so you may better parent them.  Also, look for a good parenting book that is like-minded in your convictions to help sharpen your parenting skills.  Might I suggest a certain book?

All Aboard! Hints on Child Training

Hints on Child Training: The Duty of Training Children

Scope and Limitations of Child Training

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I meant to post (and start) this last week (technically, I should have started this October 2), but catching up shouldn’t be hard.  I downloaded The 12-Week Holiday Planner for the Christian Family two years ago, and still really enjoy it.  The greatest thing about it is you buy it and print it once, stick it in protective sleeves in a binder, and enjoy it year after year using a dry-erase pen over the sleeves.  Admittedly, I am an organized Christmas junky, and I actually incorporate this planner along with the Christmas Countdown (with free downloads).  I’ve kept a running Christmas Countdown notebook for the past six years to keep track of systems and routines that worked, gifts I’ve given to each individual/group so as not to get in a gift rut, and meaningful new traditions I’d like to continue the following Christmases (as well as things that took away from the season to remember to avoid it in the future).

So, all you Christmas lovers who enjoy a stress-free, well-thought-out yuletide season and who don’t want to lose focus of the True meaning of this great holiday in all the hustle and bustle, check these sites out!  It’ll be fun to compare notes, share ideas, and encourage each other along the path to the manger!  😀

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As I was changing Claire’s (4 months) diaper, Levi (4 years) was giving her love and sweetly said, “I love you, Claire.  I will always be with you.  Even when I’m five, I’ll still be here for you.”

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A couple years ago, my friend, Bianca, gave me a wonderful Reader’s Digest book entitled Homemade.  (Actually, my book isn’t in print anymore, but the link goes to the newest edition of what I have.)  What makes homemaking fun for me is the fact that it usually saves money to do-it-yourself, homemade things are fresher and healthier, I attain a sense of accomplishment when I’m involved in more than just buying a product, and what I especially love is that I can involve my kids to some extent of the project.

Just in time for hot cocoa season, here’s a marshmallow recipe from the Homemade book my kids and I just enjoyed:

Marshmallows

3 T confectioners’ sugar

3 T cornstarch (I always substitute arrowroot powder for cornstarch and it works great)

1 1/2 T unflavored gelatin

1/3 C water

1/2 C granulated sugar

2/3 C light corn syrup (if you don’t have or want to use corn syrup and the recipe calls for 1 cup corn syrup, combine one cup granulated sugar and 1/4 additional cup of the liquid used in the recipe in a 2-cup measure.  Stir until mixture is blended.  Next time I’m going to try and use agave nectar)

1.  Line a 9x13x2-inch pan with wax or parchment paper.  In a small sieve, combine 1 T of the confectioners’ sugar and 1 T of the corn starch/arrowroot powder, and sift the mixture over the prepared pan.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the gelatin and water; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 min.

3.  Place the bowl in a large saucepan or deep skillet of simmering water.  Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.  Add the granulated sugar and continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove the bowl from the water and add the corn syrup.  Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until it is creamy and thick, 10-15 minutes.  Let the mixture stand until it is cool.

4.  Using a wet spatula, spread the mixture in the prepared pan smoothing the top evenly.  Let the mixture sit until it is cool and set, about 20 minutes.

 

I didn't think to take pictures until this step.  We didn't smooth very much...

I didn't think to take pictures until this step. 😦 We didn't smooth ours too much...

 

 

5.  Carefully lift the marshmallow mixture onto a cutting board.  Following step one, lightly dust the marshmallow with one T of the remaining powdered sugar and cornstarch.  Using a sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into small squares.  In a cup, combine the remaining 1 T powdered sugar and corn starch.  Dip each marshmallow into the mixture until it is completely coated.  Store the marshmallows in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for 1-2 weeks.  

Makes about 36 marshmallows.


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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.

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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