Weekend Thoughts

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I’m coming to ‘the good part’ of Amy Carmichael’s biography, when she begins rescuing and “mothering” the temple children. Now, if I ever think I have it bad, I just need to remember how Amy nursed, cared for, and loved that many more, all in God’s grace and strength. Her transition, from being traditional missionary to a rather instant mother to many, must have been somewhat difficult, as evidenced in the following quote. Changing diapers and rinsing out sick buckets rarely seem holy, but certainly must be in God’s economy:

If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love
Amy Carmichael, If, p.43 (emphasis mine)

The Next Fundraiser

Our daughters are into the American Girl books. One has already bought a doll, and one of them is saving up now to do so. The girls were having marginal success selling potholders to finance A Major’s Josefina purchase last year, but I am thinking that fad may be over. Let’s face it- there are only so many things you can do with a five by five bit of woven sock rings, and the list doesn’t even include ‘holding pots’, because they’re too small. dsc03329.JPGI’ve been brainstorming other ways the girls can earn money, and have come up with something that makes use of their Knifty Knitter looms: eco-friendly reusable bags. Here is my prototype, and it is almost as funny to me as potholders, because I would need 50 of these on my arm when I walked into Meijer or Aldi. I just never go in a store for a few things. Apparently, many people do use them, or at least the stores are hoping they will start, because I have been seeing variations of them everywhere, from Kroger and Meijer, to Home Depot and Whole Foods. dsc03330.JPGI meant to take it out with me tonight to do a “few groceries” test, but forgot it at home. It appears that it will hold a couple canned goods, definitely some fruit. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out- there are many things I learned from doing the first one that should make future ones easier and better. One bag I saw praised in Consumer Reports had its own storage bag, so, not to be outdone, I crafted one for this guy:dsc03327.JPG

What do you guys think? The first one was a bit of work, but I believe successive ones will be simpler. Part of my problem was I used a pair of pants for the material, when starting with a yard of fabric would have gotten me quicker and less stressful results. It appears the pocket can only be attached to the bag under the straps; I thought about it being part of the bag’s bottom, but can’t visualize a way of making that work. I had hoped it could be reversible (as well as reusable! 🙂 ), but if that pocket is there, it will have to stay on the inside to look right. Or, it can just be separate, thrown in the bag when not in use. Anybody have a preference on this? I could ditch the whole pocket thing. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings. They are kinda cute, though. Again, I laugh at the thought of hundreds of these “pillow” packets stuffed in my diaper bag, which now looks like a huge bolster. I may be carrying around some excess baggage, but I’m saving the environment, right?

Anyway, the big plus of something like this is the girls are able to participate, making the body of the bag with their looms, and I just stitch things up when their work is the right length. Fun times. I can see another “adopted” daughter join Josefina really soon.

Final Thoughts on Baucham’s Book

I purposely chose to limit the majority of my sharing on Voddie Baucham’s book, Family Driven Faith, to the topics that would be viewed as controversial. Sports, dating, and education are all hot topics among Christian families today- with many people taking more than one side of the issue. In highlighting Baucham’s thoughts regarding these, I didn’t give a full representation of his book, or his purpose for writing it. Basically, it comes down to the byline of his title: doing what it takes to raise sons and daughters who walk with God. His premise is that the majority of children raised in a Christian home are leaving the faith once they are grown, and something radical needs to be done to prevent that from happening to yours and mine. This ‘radical’ thing isn’t really all that innovative- we simply need to return to the standards set in Deuteronomy 6:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This only seems radical to us in this modern age where the Christian is not as removed from the world’s cultural norm as they should be. Loving God first needs to be our greatest priority, and leading our families this way may estrange us. For some this means staying out of the kids’ sport scene. For others this may mean homeschooling. For all this will mean sacrificing what the world thinks is of value for what God honors.
I really appreciated Baucham’s bold exhortation. Many of the things he outlined as being important to fostering what he called “multigenerational faithfulness”, we do not do with our children as consistently as I would like. I am praying we improve in the areas of teaching our children and being the best examples we can be, for starters. Just the other day, I was struck at how my five year old did not know about a prominent Bible figure. To fully embrace all that the Bible has to teach us and our children, we literally do have to be talking about the things of God “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”. The urgency to get the Word into my children before it is too late is felt all the more after reading such a book as Family Driven Faith.

I’ll end with a quote from LaHaye’s Revelation study guide, a picture of the person who has rejected God in the end times. This could describe our children, if we are not careful:

Already we have seen man refuse to repent on two different occasions in the face of these judgments. The last thing to be noted in this passage of Scripture is the hardness of the unsaved, unregenerate heart. “And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail.” [Rev. 16:21] It is hard to conceive of man so rebellious that he would lift his face in final defiance to God even in the face of such disaster. All hopes and dreams will be ended with the ultimate consummation [God’s final judgment] because man will have chosen to worship Antichrist. ~Tim LaHaye, Revelation (emphasis mine)

My other posts about the book Family Driven Faith can be read here, here, and here.

Breadmaking Joys

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I’ve had great success with breakfast breads lately. Last week we had some wonderful coffeecake muffins from an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, and yummy zucchini bread from a recipe Jenny shared with me. This morning we had carrot pancakes. It’s really too bad that Luke is a bit picky; he misses out on some really good food! Accumulating good day-starters has me feeling super confident- that may be why I have the gumption to try to make my own pop tarts tomorrow morning. If they turn out decent, that will be one more breakfast option for us. We do eat a few egg variations too, but the muffins, breads and pancakes win out as what is the norm for us. I thought I’d share one of my favorite breakfast breads; it originally came from FamilyFun magazine. If anyone wants the coffeecake muffin recipe, let me know.

English Muffins

1 c. milk

3 T. butter, cut into pieces

2 T. honey

1 c. warm water

1 pkg. active dry yeast

5 1/2 – 6 c. flour

1 t. salt

cornmeal

Combine milk, butter and honey in medium saucepan. Warm over medium low heat until butter melts, whisk. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour water into medium mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Stir with fork, then let rest 5-10 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper and sprinkle cornmeal on top. Pour cooled milk mixture into yeast mixture and stir until well blended. Add 3 cups flour and salt, beat vigorously with wooden spoon until smooth. Continue adding flour until dough is firm enough to knead. Scrape onto lightly floured surface. Knead 3-4 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Roll out with rolling pin until 1/2 in. thick. Cut into 3 1/2 in. circles. Put on cornmeal covered pans to rise 35-45 minutes. Toast muffins 10 minutes on each side on griddle (250-300 degrees, varies with appliance) or in a pan over medium heat. Split with fork, enjoy!

Weekend Thoughts

God is our refuge and strength,
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Come,behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Psalm 46

Themed Summers

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I was quite inspired by a comment made on this post of Meredith’s. Kelly mentioned that it “might be fun for parents to have a different theme each summer, and then plan books and activities around your theme”. I love this! I’m thinking I’ll take it a step further and have the theme be the very same as that of the VBS the kids attend. This summer our VBS has an island theme- I can see us getting out books about oceans, reefs, etc. from the library, playing in sand, all sorts of fun to be had. When pretending we are seaside gets old, maybe we can plan a day trip to Lake Erie. My friend mentioned taking her kids to a nice beach in the Huron area. We’re hoping not to see much of Luke this summer (it would be a good thing = he is busy building the house!), but maybe one or two excursions can be squeezed out of July.
Themed summers. Great idea!

Home Keeping A-Z

I saw this meme yesterday, and thought I would contribute. Feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog. Everybody knows how to copy and paste, right? 🙂

Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like? Yes- I’ve been wearing them faithfully for a year now, and they have really saved my shirts! I couldn’t pick a favorite, they all end up getting stained from use.
Baking – Favorite thing to bake – Cookies. Or bread.
Clothesline – Y/N? Not at this time, but I hope to outside the new house.
Donuts – Have you ever made donuts? No, due to an incident with very hot oil (which my dad could relate to you sometime) when I was a teen, the most frying I do is popcorn.
Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day- laundry
Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze? Not at this time, but I hope to in the new house. Notice a trend?
Garbage Disposal – Y/N? We have one right now, but won’t in the new house. They smell bad and I’m scared of them.
Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource? The Internet
Ironing – Love it or hate it? I’m ambivalent, probably because I haven’t ever had to do it very often.
Junk drawer – Y/N? How about ‘junk island’ and ‘junk table’?
Kitchen – Color and decorating. In the new house I want a Mediterranean theme, with yellows, terra cotta, and blue.
Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking? When I stop to think about it, I realize to even have more than four walls is to be blessed far beyond many in the world. I’m grateful to have a house to care for.
Mop – Y/N? Luke wishes I would.
Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine? Washing machine
Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check? Open the oven door- any gingerbread men would be long gone
Pizza – What do you put on yours? Personally, I like a good supreme. The kids do cheese and sometimes pepperoni, so that is usually what we have.
Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Sleep, read, lately some sewing
Recipe card box – Y/N? Yes, and am accumulating some doozies on the computer that, until I get a new printer cartridge, will continue to take over my bookmarks
Style- What style is your house? Late prefab, with modular accents
Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N? No, but I would like to get into the habit- may help keep table surfaces clear. Paper napkins.
Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland? There’s a lock on the handles- what do you think?
Vacuum – How many times per week? Ideally, three to four. But we often settle for a little ‘crunch’
Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week? 20 on average
X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? No. I keep a running list of grocery needs, and write something down that has to be remembered that day, but never am consistently keeping a daily list.
Yard – Y/N? Who does what? Luke does it all. Superyardman.
Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Usually something in the kitchen, or folding laundry.

Happy Birthday!

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She’s been acting like it for quite some time now (the good and the bad), but finally turned two today. We’ll sing over cupcakes tonight and ask for many more blessed years together. So glad to have you, “father’s joy”.

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