Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:14-15

I Timothy 4:14-15

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

As parents, one of our greatest jobs is to help our children find what it is that God has them to do. Finding our life's work is an overwhelming task in some ways and one that our children need our encouragement and wisdom to discover. It starts when they are young and we encourage their interests by providing books and other resources to help them soak up all the knowledge they can. We can listen to what interests them, and ask questions (which sometimes means, as they get older, that we have to do some research of our own!) Some things will lend themselves to field trips or road trips and we can use these to further explore an interest as a possible future career (as they get older, of course). 

For example, my son is fascinated by fire engines. He may never be a fireman, but I can show him now, even as a young boy how to find out more about something that interests him. We borrow books from the library about firemen and fire safety. We watch fire safety videos on YouTube. We talk about what kind of character qualities a fireman needs, like orderliness and courage. He is learning tools and developing skills that will help him find out what he needs to know about anything, not just potential careers. 

It also means that we give them chances to exercise the skills and character qualities they are developing. For example, if they are learning about orderliness, talk to them about what is orderly in their world and what needs some work. Show them what orderliness looks like in the areas where they are struggling and how they can bring order to a situation. Give them examples from scripture so they can see it in action.

And once they know the work God has given them to do, don't neglect it. It is the same as when they were little children and you assigned a chore. They could not neglect that chore; it must be done. We have to teach them that the work you have to do, must be done. We can not shirk it or give it to someone else; they have their own chore or work to do. We have to complete the task God has given us. What is ours to do, we must do! 

And as always, show them by example. Talk to them about the work God has given you. And let them see you doing it with all your might! 

Note: Due to Thanksgiving being on Thursday, there will not be another post until next Tuesday. I hope to "see" y'all then!

Blessings, friends! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:13

I Timothy 4:13-

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Paul gives Timothy very concise instructions in both verses 12 and 13. Timothy is left in no doubt as to what Paul wanted him to be about. We too need to give our children work. They will be working in different ways their whole lives and there is no reason to delay. Teach them the rewards that work brings and to do it well and thoroughly and you will have prepared them for so much of life.

Children love to help. My four year old son will follow me round the house, asking me, "Mommy, how can I help you?" And not only do I get help, he stays out of trouble. Often, children, especially boys, get into trouble for lack of something to do. to put it in kid terms, they are bored. As mothers, it is sometimes hard to find enough things for our children to do, and there are times when there just aren't enough things that they can do, especially when they are young. But sometimes we fall in to the trap that we do the job better so we don't allow our children to learn by helping. Show them how to do it, when they are ready and let them go. It may not be as neat as if we had done it, but the sense of accomplishment that they have from doing work will more than make up for the job that is not quite done to your standards. 

Make sure that you tell them what you expect. There are few things more frustrating to both adults and children as a job description that is too vague or ambiguous. "I want you to wipe the bathroom counter. Make sure you clean up all the toothpaste. " Now the child knows what to clean and what you expect it to look like when he is done. 

Children also love to know there is an end. Set a time and tell them we will all work for the next 10 minutes, then take a 10 min reading break. Or we will have snack once all the books are back on the shelves. Make sure they times and chores are reasonable and then work hard. You will be pleasantly surprised by just how much you can get done with a tiny crew.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:12

I Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Not many nowadays despise youth and the more money they have and foolishness they exhibit, the more we follow them. Youth is a god in our country. We want to look young, be young, feel young and we spend millions, maybe even billions trying to get there. We idolize youth. Our children are told they're worth most when they are young. Once we are old, we are useless. But are we, as believers, teaching them to be an example to other believers? Who are we giving them as examples? Are we being the examples we should be? Are we surrounding them with pop culture icons? Or Church fathers? Twerking musicians and posing TV celebrities? Or great men and women of the faith; Corrie ten Boom, Eric Liddell, Susannah Wesley, Martin Luther and others? They will be like the friends they keep. Are they besties with Harry or Bella or Clay? Or do they embrace those who challenge the mind and the spirit?

The word example means someone who is to be imitated. Are we teaching our children to be imitators or to be the ones leading and being imitated? We need to do more than just tell them to be leaders. Give them chances; with siblings, with peers, in the church, in the world. Look for ways to let them practice and yes, even to fail. Help them learn from their failures and to grow as an example.

Being an example in this verse covers every piece of life; what we say, what we do, how we show Christ's love, who we are inside, in our goal to be like Christ daily. It is a 24/7 lifestyle, not something we do sometimes. Teach them like Deut. 6:7 style; all the time!

How do you train your children to be an example to the believers?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Large Family Bedroom Solutions

As we are getting ready to move,  I have been pondering the best options for organizing bedrooms and space for our kiddos. To my surprise and delight, Amy over at Raising Arrows addressed this very subject today! To read her thoughts and suggestions, head on over here.

For our family, since our second daughter was born, we have only lived two places. But we added 4 children while there. We had 4 bedrooms, but we only used three of them. For the first few months, our oldest was in a room by herself. Once our second daughter was old enough (we usually have the babies in our room until between 6-9 months depending on the child) she moved in with big sister, moving from a pack and play to a crib. When our son was ready, he moved into the room across the hall from the girls and his little brother joined him there. Our youngest was still a baby when we moved so she was still with us.

Where we live now, we have two bedrooms, so the three oldest share a room and the two youngest are with my husband and I. Once we move, we hope to have a three bedroom, so we can return to a boy room/girl room set up. It seems to work pretty well for all the kiddos that way.

As far as bedding goes, we usually have the children in a pack and play for the first year or so, then transition them to a crib until they are ready for a big kid bed. Space can be a real issue; trying to fit all those beds can be tight. We have a daybed and trundle for the girls and our oldest son had a daybed as well. Our youngest son has some physical limitations that require him to stay in a crib for a while longer and our baby is still in her pack and play, so we have managed so far. But as they get older, we are getting to the place where we are probably going to have to make some adjustments.

My favorite creative short term solution mentioned in Amy's post is the pillow chaise. My kids often want to sleep on the floor with pillow and blankets. They love forts and "camping" in their rooms. The pillow chaise (found here) makes this just a bit more comfortable. It's not really a great long term solution, but it's adds an element of fun to summers especially! Plus it would work great for Friday night movies or for sleep overs.

What kind of creative solutions has your family used?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:8

I Timothy 4:8

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

In our world today, bodily exercise is a god. Having the perfect body and even just being "healthy" is the goal for many and we in the US spend, according to one source, 40 to 50 billion dollars on fitness and health products, clothing and gyms a year. You can't look through a magazine, watch the TV or browse the Internet without an ad for some product or service claiming to make you look or feel better.

The verse above is vital to our children, in that it shows us how to keep the fitness mania in a Biblical perspective. It doesn't tell us to just do what we want. Exercise is good; it profits little as the Bible says it, but the key here is, as with everything else in this life, it needs to be tempered with what is more profitable. Yes, it is good, but there is something better. It is a common problem to think that if there is something better, the first thing must be bad. Exercise is not bad, but there is something we should be spending more of our time on than that.

Godliness is profitable for both "the life that now its an of that which is to come." The time we spend on studying scripture, discipling our children, any way we can invest in the Kingdom of Christ, that is profitable for all things and all time.

So teach your children to exercise their bodies, but help them keep it in perspective and teach them with even more urgency, the importance of the exercise of Godliness. Show them by example how to invest their time and energy what will last. Built up their character and help them remember what will matter in and for eternity.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 4:1-6

I Timothy 4:1-6

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devil; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

It's a rather long passage but I wanted to give the whole context of what I'm talking about. What I gleaned most from these verses, and I'm sure there are many more things here than that, is that we need to nourish our children "up in the words of faith and good doctrine." We need to spend the time as parents to tell them what is good and what is bad. There so many times in our day and age, that men call evil, good and good, evil. 

We tend as parents to take one of two paths. Either we tell them all the good and wonderful things but we forget or don't want to expose them to all the ugliness in the world. And there should be boundaries to how and when and how much we expose them too. Little children need to feel secure not scared. But as they grow, they need to see and  understand that not everyone is a friend, not everyone is safe and there are things in this world that are best left alone.

The other side wants to prepare them and in the process of doing so, destroys their innocence. They tell too much of the ugly and forget that children will be both scared and overwhelmed by too much too soon. It is a balancing act and a delicate one too. 

The best way to show them all of this is by simply reading scripture together. The Bible is full examples of sinners and their consequences and those who chose to follow God's commands and the benefits they enjoyed. It also shows plenty of suffering that comes to those who follow Christ. In other words, it gives them a realistic picture of life.

As we are talking with them about these things, we must be careful to show them where to find it for themselves. It's great to tell a story to a little child, but as they grow, they need to see it for themselves; to know where to go when they need that encouragement or exhortation again or where to find it so they can share with others. Don't sit on generalizations, show them chapter and verse. Give them the specifics; what God loves and what God hates. (II Cor. 9:7, Prov. 6:16-19) Don't tell them because I said so*, show them what God says. Give them the foundation of scripture so they know where and on what they stand. Our authority as parents comes from scripture, not simply because we have the title mom or dad. 

I hope this blesses and encourages you and as always, please feel free to leave your thoughts and reflection in the comments. (Prov. 27:17)

*(There is a time and a place for instruction just as there is a time and place to expect obedience. I am not advocating explaining this every time you give them direction. When you are teaching a new concept or when you are reviewing something that has been slipping through the cracks, that is the time for foundation laying. When you are in the grocery store or at church is not the time for training. That is when you test what you have trained at home.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall and Pumpkin

I love Fall and Pumpkin. You can have one without the other, but why would you? When I was a kid, we had a time of year called Fall. It was the season between "hotter than the surface of the sun" and "Oh, my! There IS water left on the planet." When we moved to a place that had a changing of the seasons, Fall quickly became my favorite. I love the cool nights and all the glorious colors. And most of all, I love the food: fudge, hot chocolate, apples, and pumpkin everything. 

Yesterday, after shopping at Costco and seeing all the delicious pumpkin foods, I came home to make some of my own. I tried two new recipes. The first was a moist pumpkin bread and then I had only 3/4 cup of pumpkin left so I found a custard recipe that used that amount and tried it too! (With only a few changes. :D) I thought I'd share...

The pumpkin bread recipe from Food.com was pretty straight forward, the only change I made was I used brown sugar instead of white, because I was looking for richer flavor. I think I probably cooked it a bit long, as the crust was a little tough, but the inside was delightful! If you like it spicier, I would add more than the recipe calls for, as the spice is very mild. But all in all, a very good flavor and texture.

  • 1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
  • cup sugar (I used brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used sour cream because it's what I had)
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (You could also add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger or cloves)
  • Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Stir flour, baking soda, and salt together and add to the butter and sugar. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir.
  • Bake in a greased load pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
  • The second recipe I tried was for pumpkin custard
I made a few changes to this one. I don't like canned milk in most things (my cornbread is one exception) so I used 1/2 cup of cream and 1 cup of whole milk. And I substituted arrowroot powder for the cornstarch. For baking it, I don't have custard cups, so I placed it in a 2qt. casserole dish and baked as directed. This one is very delicious, but also not super spicy, so again if you like more of the pumpkin spice flavor, I would add more spices.

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk (one 12-ounce can)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, spices, and salt and sift into the pumpkin mixture. Stir the batter until combined well and pour into four 3/4-cup custard cups.
  3. Place the cups in a 9 X 11-inch baking pan and add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake for 50 minutes, or until set and browned lightly. Transfer the custards to a wire rack to cool.
What are your favorite pumpkin recipes? Feel free to share in the comments!! I'm always willing to try new ones. :D


Bonus Day! (Sort of...)

I Timothy 3 is full of instructions to Timothy on the duties and responsibilities of being a bishop and deacon. There are many things in there, especially for our sons that will help inform and instruct them. They may not ever be a deacon or a bishop, but these are good principles for training our sons to be godly men. The same is true of I Timothy 2:9-15 for our girls. But I wanted a certain flow in the posts, so I am taking those two topics on at the end of our time together, instead of now.

These are times in which we are losing the definitions of what it means to be a man and a woman and if we fail to teach things that are as fundamental as that, we lose a large part of our foundation. To be who you are supposed to be, you have to understand who you are, as a human and in Christ. That is part of why we study the scripture; to know the will of God. Learning what it means to be a godly man or woman, will inform every step of every day. And there is no point at which children are too young to begin to understand where they fit in God's order and what He expects of them and us.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 2:1-3

I Timothy 2:1-3

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.

These verses are timely, considering here in the US we just had our midterm elections. We again had the privilege and responsibility to elect our leaders. But how often, once the election season is over, do we remember to pray for them? And not just that God would get rid of them in the next election, but really, truly, pray for them. Those words, supplication, prayers and intercessions mean to implore God's aid, addressing ourselves to God and an interview. This is more that a quick 5 minutes every 2 or 4 years. It means keeping up with what is going on in the House, Senate, White House, all of it, so we can pray specifically for the people and issues are facing our states, country and the world.

We are supposed to pray, beg God to change their hearts when needed and to express thankfulness for God's blessings in all things. Here, for now, we have freedom. We might not always have it, but we do for now, so let us make the best we can of it, by showing gratefulness for our freedom, even if it only means we have the right to disagree with the powers that be.

Encourage your children to pray for their leaders; for the salvation of the lost and for strength for the saved. Show them by your example, whether it's a once a week special prayer time or every morning at breakfast or just before bed, that praying for those in authority over us matters to you. Remember that in teaching them respect for the authority of the "kings" and "all that are in authority", you are reinforcing respect for yourself and your husband and for God. It is a lifestyle and character we are training, not allegiance to a party or a system

We all want quiet and peaceable lives, this is one of the ways to have such a life. If you aren't willing to work for it, and that includes something as simply as prayer, you can't complain when it disappears. And if our children see us engaged and ready to engage, they will grow up copying those behaviors too.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles- I Timothy 1:13-14

I Timothy 1:13-14
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

All of us are born sinners. Our struggle comes after we are saved and realize that we still fail daily to live up to the standard of Christ's perfection. There are times we sin in ignorance, copying what we see around us or what we have always done and there are times when we sin purposely because we want what we want.

As Christian parents, we know our children need discipline. We have all read Proverbs and know the need to train up a child and not to let a child go his or her own way. But I think sometimes we miss the spirit of this verse. God is our Father, and while sometimes, He corrects us because of His love for us (Proverbs 3:12), sometimes He also shows us mercy.

There are sins of ignorance, those committed without malice and without knowledge that what we are doing is sin. In those situations, we need to show mercy and grace to our children, with love. That will probably mean not disciplining them but that doesn't mean there will be no wisdom shared. What was one time done in ignorance, can not be done in ignorance twice. They must be told what they did was wrong and that there is, with the knowledge of wrong, a responsibility to "go and sin no more". Grace is not license to do something again and it is very important to show both grace for ignorance and correction for willful continuing in the sin.

Of course, there are times to continue to show grace, God gives us plenty of examples of times when He shows mercy and grace when we are quite aware of the discipline we deserve. But we must be sure, we are showing mercy and grace with love, not ignoring the problem because it is inconvenient for us to deal with at the moment or "not a big deal" or some other excuse not to show that we love our children enough to take the time to correct them. Children need to know they are loved. Sometimes that means a hug and an "I forgive you". And sometimes it is a correction that may mean they are unhappy with us for a while. But either way, it must be love that motivates us, just as it is love that motivates God.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Paul's Parenting Principles starts Tomorrow!

I don't know about you, but I am always searching for encouragement, principles and wisdom when it comes to raising my children. It's hard and often confusing work and I, for one, love to find principles in scripture that help guide me. I hope y'all find ample encouragement and food for thought in these posts and please feel free to share your thoughts and insights in the comments!

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are several times in 1st and 2nd Timothy that Paul refers to Timothy as his son in the faith. (I Tim 1:2, 18, II Tim 1:2)  I don't know if Paul had children of his own, but I wondered what can we learn as parents about teaching and training our children from his letters to Timothy? Are there things we should be encouraging in our children that we may not think about? What things are most important in a long term, eternal sense? How will a focus on the long term change what we do each day as parents? So often our focus is on the upkeep; feeding, clothing, schooling and such. All important things, for sure. But beyond basics, where is our focus? Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed with the everyday, thinking beyond is more that we can do, but if we start with a base of where we headed, it will inform even those days when three meals and a 35 diaper changes is all we can manage.

For the housekeeping part, I will be posting twice a week, starting tomorrow, for the next few weeks. I will try to keep them short, since your time are moms can be limited. :D



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