real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

great thought #57

“I remember reading something a few years ago that really left an impression on my guilt-ridden mother’s soul. In Joel 2:25 God makes this promise: “And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten.” When I read that, I thought that the same can apply to the mistakes I have made as a mother, the years I sought after someone else’s ideals for homeschooling, the paradigms I embraced that were based on man’s principles rather than God’s. Then it occurred to me that because of some of my wrong thinking, I was often the locust myself, having eaten away some of the time I had with my children in pursuing anything but a righteous relationship with them! How grateful I am to a gracious and merciful heavenly Father who has restored what I have even torn down with my own hands, whether knowingly or unknowingly!” thatmom as written in another forum


buttercream frosting


A few weeks ago I shared my wonderful carrot cake recipe discovery but didn’t remember that the buttercream frosting recipe was also requested until today.  Here is the most recent version of the carrot cake, as decorated by my daughter-in-law, Stacie, in the mini class on cake decorating she gave me while she was here!

Buttercream Frosting

4 sticks butter, softened (1 lb.)

4 pounds powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

cream, evaporated milk, or milk to make desired consistency

Mix sugar and butter together on medium speed in mixer.  Add extracts.  Drizzle in milk until the frosting is the desired consistency; start with only a little at a time.  To make a crumb coat for the cake before a final frosting, save out a cup or so of frosting and add milk until you have a glaze similar to what you would use on donuts or cinnamon rolls.  Frost with glaze and allow to harden before final frosting. (Be sure to use regular frosting between the layers.)  Stacie used a small tip to create the pink dots and we lightly smooshed them down to make the polka dots.

dowen eating cake

I think the finished product passed consumer inspection!

great thought #56

I guess I look at this whole issue in this way…after parenting for 34 years as of yesterday, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they reflect Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.” written by thatmom on July 23rd as a comment on another blog.

organic family life ~ part five ~ repenting of provoking our children to anger

mad vienna

A couple weeks ago while I was relaxing poolside, watching Grandpa Clay playing with the grandchildren in the water, I couldn’t help but hear and see an interesting interaction between a mom and her near teenage daughter.  While three younger siblings were splashing around and enjoying themselves, the oldest girl sat under a beach umbrella, sullen and pouting, her arms crossed and daggers coming from her eyes.  Someone had offended her and she was letting everyone know.

A few minutes later, her mom spoke up from the pool. “I can’t believe you scratched him like that.  Just look at the marks on his back,” she shouted.

I looked over at the younger brother who was swimming and joking around, oblivious to the scratches but obviously delighting in the dressing down his mom was giving to his sister. “But he kept trying to dunk me and wouldn’t stop pulling on me,” the girl replied.

“I don’t care,” said the mom, “You can just sit there until you can behave.”

At this point, the girl answered her, “I might as well go back to the room then.”

“No you won’t.  You will sit right where I have told you to sit.”

This conversation was louder with each retort and eventually the girl said nothing while the mother continued to let her know not only how she had misbehaved but how she had embarrassed her in front of everyone and that her whole attitude in life needed to change, etc.

I felt very uncomfortable and I was embarrassed for both of them.  This girl was just at that age, needing to feel approval and acceptance as an emerging young woman who feels unattractive and unsure about herself every day.  She may have been completely wrong in what she did, though in watching her brother’s glee, I was not so sure he didn’t get the desired affect he sought.  I suspect that this conversation was only one of many just like it that was shared in that home.

I was also embarrassed for this mom who needed to let everyone within ear shot know that she was in charge, her parental authority feeling challenged by a daughter who would soon be grown.  I knew that whatever the relationship was between the two of them, it had been damaged by the mom’s decision to admonish the daughter in public and in a manner that belittled her.  Though the daughter may have been absolutely wrong and her attitude was a problem, this mother was provoking her child to anger by public humiliation and it was her responsibility as the parent to set the example of proper relationship building.

I think that one of the greatest assets a mom can possess is the ability to empathize with her children, to be able to put herself in their shoes and actually try to look at situations from their vantage point.  In organic family life, this is perhaps the most essential ingredient to good communication.

We are exhorted to admonish one another, to confront each other in love when we see sin.  As parents, this is an important part of teaching and instructing our children.  But we must also be mindful that our words and actions hold much more significance in the lives of our kids than we realize.  Correction and reproof when done ought to be administered in privacy and with the goal of further building unity and trust.  Think of how you would want them to admonish or correct you.

As I thought of ways that I have failed in this area, things I have done that I have had to repent of because they caused my children to be provoked to anger, I began to make a list.  I cringed as I typed, the thoughts coming fast and furious.  I know from experience, either from my own life or from listening to what others have shared with me, that these are areas where we easily fail as parents.

Jumping to conclusions
Not trusting them
Talking about them to your friends
Not expecting the best of them
Not showing empathy
Trying to make them like the same things you like
Belittling them, especially in front of others
Failing to praise them or even reward them for the good things they do
Telling someone they will do something without asking them
Critically looking them up and down, examining their clothing choices, hairstyles, friends etc.
Being nitpicky; making mountains out of molehills
Not paying attention to the things that really matter to them; minimizing their hopes, dreams, beliefs, questions, concerns, convictions
Dissembling information to them; being hypocritical by “interpreting” the Bible to them in ways that only show your legalism rather than your dependence on the Word of God and the grace of Christ; calling things sin that the Bible doesn’t call sin in order to manipulate them
Refusing to give them increasing responsibilities all the time or giving them responsibilities but continuing to treat them as though they were younger
Assuming their time is your time and they can be interrupted at will to meet your needs
Ignoring the gifts God has given to them
Showing your preference for another sibling
Forgetting things they have told you
Yelling at and scolding them
Belittling, minimizing, or ignoring their doubts and faith struggles
Not protecting them enough
Being overly protective

Thankfully, by God’s grace we are promised that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)  We need to continually recognize what things provoke our children to anger and then to repent of this behavior, seeking forgiveness for doing these things to our children and purposing to not do them again. Relationships with our children depend on it.

i am about to change your life

artisan bread book

A year or so ago I bought a used copy of this book on bread baking.  Having baked bread regularily for more than 30 years, I was somewhat skeptical as I leafed through the pages, realizing that the method the authors described defied all the rules I had learned to embrace.

Then, a few weeks ago, Katie, a kindred spirit whose blog I love to read, posted a video using these same methods so I pulled my book off the shelf and decided to give it a go.

Today, I am a believer…I baked three of the most delicious and perfect loaves of artisan bread I have ever tasted.  The crusts are crunchy and tasty, the inside is delicious and wonderful without even butter or jam!  I can’t wait to experiment with sandwiches, pizzas, and different recipes to serve with different soups.  Oh, and as as soon as the first batch was done, I whipped up a double batch to store in the fridge for tomorrow and the day after.  One of the book authors says that the dough can keep for 14 days and later loaves are even better, sometimes taking on the quality of sourdough.  I am not kidding, this simple technique has changed my life!  (Did I mention the bread is fat and sugar free and only has 4 ingredients?!)

great thought #55

“I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian.” ~  George Whitefield

sunday morning worship