Monthly Archives: June 2012

Parenting from God’s Perspective

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I know, that is a pretty hefty title, isn’t it? During Bible study the other day (we’re reading ‘Feminine Appeal’ by Caroline Mahaney. I’d tell you if it is good or not, but we’re not done yet, so I’ll keep you posted.) we talked about what Titus 2 means by “loving our children.” This is a pretty blanket statement, and can end up with a plethora of topics on love, snuggling, nutrition, discipline, provision, training children Biblically, to spank or not to spank etc etc. You get the idea. It is a pretty broad road to travel as far as discussions go, and we certainly did not disappoint. We covered the range of topics fairly well. But we lingered on one particular point, one that in saying out loud, I realized is pretty important as an overview of Godly parenting. And what was that, you ask?

It is pretty simple in concept. How does God parent us? I’ve wrestled with this question before I was a parent. I did not understand the concept of God as my father. That comes to most quite easily, but my earthly father (shout out to you, Dad!) did a pretty good job, and I love him a lot, despite his terrible fashion sense and penchant for fanny packs, but that is another post entirely.  Ugh. I digress…
Anyway, I couldn’t imagine why I’d need two fathers when my Dad tried his very best to imitate God’s perfect go before. I had no lingering Daddy issues as an adult, and all of my psych classes likened those to a bad relationship with Religious authority. (Whatever, Freud, I’m onto you. You’re whacked.) So I kind of shrugged my shoulders and went about my business praising God and doing my best to talk my way out of actually obeying him. Kind of like my teenage years with my Dad.

As a parent… This is another question entirely. Much heavier than my laissez-faire attitude of when I was a young adult.

How does God parent me?

I find myself asking this question as I parent my children. When they’re not listening, and they end up hurting themselves because of disregard for my parental wisdom.

“Don’t ride your bike on the front porch!”
“But Mom, why not? It is so fun! *CRASH* “Ahhhhhhh!!!! Mom!! Mom! I scraped my knee! I bumped my head! Mom! and I killed your new peonies….”
“What were you doing?!”

“Riding my bike on the front porch….”

I was so frustrated at that moment. I wanted to scream and yell and stomp my feet a couple times! I told her not to do that! Why did she not listen to me?! Doesn’t she KNOW that I know more than she does? Have I not exhibited my wisdom to her on multiple occasions? Then I thought…

How does God parent me? How must he feel? I KNOW as an adult even I’ve done the same thing. I’ve read his Word, I know what he wants from me, and yet I disobey and then I whine to him when things don’t go my way. Whoops. How frustrated must he be? There are portions of scripture where God tells humankind (Israel, more likely than not) how frustrated he is. And yet he still takes care of them, loves them, he doesn’t stop them from feeling the brunt of their consequences, but he doesn’t always turn his back on them, and then, some times, when things get REALLY bad, he kind of does let them fall flat on their face.

If there is anything my recent devotional goal of completing the book of Ezekiel has taught me, it is what God’s plans for families are, because he intends families to reflect his relationship with us, his children. Or with us, his bride. When God gives us a definition of family, he’s giving us the tools to set our children up for a fulfilling relationship with him. We can’t force that on them, or choose it for them, but in all of our training and teaching of our children we need to adhere to God’s idea of family, of parenthood, and of marriage. He’s given us a beautiful template. To say we know better, or do what we think is best, and to reject the perfect outline he has for us is to set aside our relationship with him, in a sense. In denying the picture he has provided for us, for a better understanding of our relationship with him, we deny him, and what he has offered us. Consider how he parents you, how he loves you, and how he cares for you, and imitate him in your family relationships. The changes our dim reflection of him provide in our families are amazing. Take it one step further and fully submit to him, forget reflecting him, and let him work IN you and THROUGH you. He has some pretty great plans, if we’d only submit our ideas and dreams to what he says in his Word.

That being said, I’m going to offer a caution from Ezekiel 18. We can do everything right, and our children may still choose to reject God. Or we can do everything wrong, and our children will still choose to accept God. Part of submission to God, is understanding he has his own justice, and that no one can establish anything without him, and no one can destroy anything without him. We can only live our lives in such a way that honors him.

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And don’t take my word for it, check out these scriptures on what God says about families:

Titus 2

Deuteronomy 6

Job 1:5 (How did Job fulfill his responsibility as head of the family?)

Genesis 3:19 

I Thessalonians 4:11-12

Ephesians 6:1-4 (Instructions to the whole family.)

Ephesians 5:23-25 (also includes instructions to wives.)

Proverbs is also chock full of goodies about families, taking advice, listening to instruction, and learning from mistakes.

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Mom? What is there to eat?

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A friend and I were talking yesterday (Jenny from DIYparenting) about how to simplify and manage snacking. She uses a snack bin system that is perfect for growing families when life gets busy. As the number of children increases, we’re both finding more and more ways to simplify, and to make things work more easily for children who are becoming independent.
Here is what Jenny does:  She packages a few snacks in individual servings for each day, at least three possible choices, and enough for each child to have two a day. Then, when they are hungry, in the morning, or afternoon, they can retrieve whatever snack they desire from the snack bin independently. This is a wildly genius idea, because I often find my children, in their urge to snack, have eaten an ENTIRE bag of pretzels in one sitting! This is so frustrating for someone who is trying to live frugally, and not waste anything! It is also frustrating for someone who is trying to instill good eating habits!  Another part of living frugally, and healthily, is the fact that often I may not have it in my budget for prepackaged snacks. I often have to bake them. But I also don’t always have the time or energy to bake several batches in one shot. Sometimes I have more time and energy then I need, and then I do freezer baking! This is the extent of my freezer meals, because I’ve had no success in making a whole freezer meal work. I’ll spare you the stories of failed soup as freezer meals… Lets just say it took longer to thaw than it would have to make fresh soup, and it tasted vile!

In response to the 4 Mom’s post on freezer meals, I’m going to enjoy my first linky to 4 Moms via one of my new favorite blogs Life In A Shoe! 🙂 I LOVE reading her blog, it is so encouraging!

Here is what I do for “freezer meals” I bake a lot extra when I do bake, and then I freeze some each time, this way when I’m having a rough morning, or am out of ingredients, whatever the case may be, I can whip out some zuchini bread, or corn bread, or muffins, or any kind of baked good, put that thing in the oven for a few minutes and voila! Fresh baked _____! My newest favorite recipe is very simple, and very healthy. (Well, if you don’t count the amount of butter! Which I’ve reduced, but not that it makes it a whole ton better! Ha!) I love making this recipe with my kids because it is just so simple and begs for little helper hands! The original Pastry recipe can be found at Food Cookture with pictures. 🙂

Easy Fruit Turnovers

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For the Puff Pastry:
I doubled the recipe to make a total of 1 dozen turnover squares, I did not roll them thin enough though, so rolling the dough thinner may yield more! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10-12 Tablespoons ice-cold water modify depending on the flour, start with 10, then work your way up to a doughy consistency.
  •  1 egg for the egg wash before baking(beat the egg, then brush over assembled turnovers.)
    Directions

    1. Mix Sifted Flour and Salt in Mixing bowl. Add Ice Water.
    2. Cut butter into small squares, I cut the stick in half, then cut vertically to make the cubes. Cut into flour mixture using a fork (or if you’re really blessed, use a pastry blender! One day… one day I might have one of these! until then, I’ll work my muscles! )
    3. Once the mixture loosely resembles a crumbly doughy texture, turn out onto floured surface. The more you roll it with a pin, the more it will get doughy and smooth.
    4. Use a rolling pin to roll the mixture out, work extra pieces of dough, flour, and butter into mixture as you turn and fold.  IMPORTANT: Keep the dough cold! if the butter softens too much, put it in the fridge to rest, or just roll it out onto a tray you’ve pooped into the freezer. This can be tough though, so I usually just let it rest.

    Making the Turnovers.

    1. Roll the pastry into a rectangle shape. Fold it like a business letter, one third down, and one third back over the other two thirds. Rotate from a horizontal position to a vertical one. The rectangle is now longways vertically.
    2. Repeat above step, fold and roll, 4 times overall. Rotate as you do this. The dough will continue to get smoother and smoother as you do. Make sure to be consistent and rotate in the same direction.
    3. Wrap finished dough roll into plastic wrap and put in fridge to rest at LEAST 30 minutes. Will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it at this point, and save for later.
    4. Remove from fridge (or thaw at room temp) and roll, as above, 2 more times.
    5. Roll out to a thin pastry (1/4 inch thin) and cut into squares. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so long as you can fold it over onto itself and seal the edges closed. The ends of the dough ended up being rectangles and weird ovals for me, but I don’t like to waste, so I worked with what I got!
    6. Lay the pastry dough out, placing fresh fruit (I used strawberries, blueberries, any kind of berry is perfect really, as it cooks well! I also sprinkled them with a little bit of sugar) on half of the dough surface. Fold dough over, and seal at the edges with a fork. Cut an x in the top of the pastry.
    7. Beat an egg and brush the tops of the prepared pastries. (This is the part my kids REALLY enjoy doing! :))
    8. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
    9. Eat a few and freeze the rest! They make a wonderful morning snack, pop them back into the oven, straight from the freezer, 20 minutes at 400 degrees, and then place in a snack bin for the wee ones! They also pack well for Daddy’s lunches!

Getting in the Groove as a SAHM

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I’m going to try (no promises, and no declarations, those only get me in trouble!!!) to update this blog regularly, now that we’ve gotten into a SAHM groove. Here is a mundane update of our mundane existence, and as banal as it may seem some days, I’m trying to remember what God’s Word says about those little things:


We’ve established a loose schedule around here, and frankly I’m quite thrilled that it is over the summer! Integrating schoolwork into our week seems a bit intimidating, but as we go, I think it will become easier and easier.

Our goals for the summer are slowly being accomplished:

  • One big project a week:  We’ve accomplished the dining room, living room, and large portions of the school room and garden.  Not to mention a few crafty things. 🙂
  • Maintain a (somewhat) normal schedule. We have discernible days of the week! Mission accomplished!
  • Continue to accomplish the basic housework daily such as: dishes, laundry, and bedrooms.

What does a typical day for us look like? I’m gonna start with the practical, and move on to more philosophical thoughts as I go, because frankly, the practical is what I’m living right now! Philosophy tends to trip me up in daily living.
We begin the day with establishing habits.

Morning routine includes (but not necessarily in this order!)

  1. Beds get made, bodies get dressed. Bedrooms get cleaned.
  2. Daily devotions (a habit I’m not always stellar at maintaining…)
  3. Breakfast
  4. The daily load of laundry. As Flylady says, “A load a day keeps the chaos away!”

We do this every day no matter what the day holds, and I must confess, while at first it was refreshing, in week 3 of SAHMotherhood, I’m struggling to keep doing it, because I find it boring. I’ve spiced it up with some music on the radio. (Whatever suits your taste, I like something peppy and dancey!)

Some days we end up going somewhere, a playdate, or to do housecleaning, which I do to maintain my SAHM status, or it is a staying home all day big project day, in which case we do nothing but a big project! These happen once a week or so, since 2 days a week the morning is a housecleaning day, and two other mornings a week disappear into thin air. How? I don’t know. They just do. Maybe I should keep better track of time?

After lunch we usually do nap, where I get some incidental work done, weeding maybe, or weekly baking, or perhaps some catch up cooking  and preserving of gardening harvest. This is where I do what isn’t really “work” but that accomplishes something. This time I savor, and I facebook with other Moms for encouragement.

This is all still a work in progress, but the goal is to make every day purposeful, to teach with intention through every moment, every experience, and to “do all for the Glory of God.”  Each day is full of baby steps meant to hone and perfect the full time job that is being a SAHM, training my kids to be a part of God’s kingdom, but we are SO not there yet! Hopefully someone else along the same journey is encouraged by our triumphs and struggles as well!