Christ Centered Childraising

Laura at Joshua’s House honored me with a request to write an article for her ministry on why we have a vision for keeping our child training Christ centered and how we are seeking to go about this. We are always in need of further growth and maturity in our own parenting, but I pray this might provide some encouragement to other families that there is reason to pursue Christ in everything. You will find it here.

Laura is seeking to provide families with resources to encourage spiritual growth. She has a great list of family fun activities to complete together to not only build relationships but also strengthen their love for the Lord. Thanks Laura for your efforts and the invitation!

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Simplifying Your Wardrobe – Part 2

Welcome back for part 2 with further tips on Simplifying your Wardrobe! For part 1, visit here. In part 1, we discussed how to build a simple wardrobe through evaluating how much clothing you really need and how to build a selected color scheme. Now on to other ideas…above all, remember that the reason we should ultimately seek to simplify is that we might reserve more resources, time and energy for the Lord’s use…in order that we might have more to give (read more about this purpose here)!

Select clothing that is timeless

Rather than following all the fashion trends that change with each season, I like to keep my wardrobe simple by choosing more timeless attire. I may choice one or two more fashionable items (because it is fun!) on an annual basis but they still remain in my color scheme. I love denim skirts and pants, and assortment of black and brown which never grow old!

Select clothing that is versatile

Choosing clothing that works for more than one occasion/event is also very helpful. I like to wear a variety of casual skirts that work well for both around the house, dinner or evening out, and at church. I have one or two fancier dresses for weddings and such, but the main collection of my wardrobe is appropriate for both casual and semi-formal events.

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Variety in Your Grains

There is such a variety of grains out there ready for our use…why limit ourselves to whole wheat? My recommendation for beginning on the pathway to more nutritious eating is to try and eliminate white flour and replace with whole wheat (read more here). This is a huge step in the right direction! As you become more familiar with whole wheat, it is very nutritious to start including a variety of grains in your diet!

Here is what we use around our kitchen. There are many more quality grains out there, but I have simplified my kitchen to use some of the easiest to work with…

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

If you are anything like me, you love homemade ice cream! But not just any homemade ice cream…but a healthy and naturally sweetened dessert!

Our family absolutely loves homemade ice cream from our Cuisinart maker that we purchased awhile back (highly recommended by the way!). In a matter of 30 minutes we have a fresh batch of delicious ice cream! We can use quality raw milk and cream and an array of ingredients!

Here is our favorite concoction:

4-5 cups fresh whole milk (preferably raw – for more info on this, check out realmilk) – best texture is achieved by replacing 2 cups or more with heavy whipping cream (we scrap the cream off the top of our raw milk for this purpose)
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2-3/4 cup rapadura (our favorite natural sweetener choice, but you can also experiment with maple syrup, agave nectar, etc)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine together in a mixing bowl and pour into your ice cream machine, as the manufacturer’s instructions suggest. If you don’t own an ice cream machine…you can also just put it in your freezer till frozen!

For our coconut ice cream recipe, visit here.

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Mission of Motherhood: Storing up Treasures!

Today we continue our book study on The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson with chapter 3: The Undivided Heart. Please join us! Here are just a few points that really stood out to me while reading this chapter.

Matthew 6:20-21
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

The command in this passage of Scripture is for us to set our hearts on choices that have eternal results, rather than temporal significance. I have always considered this passage to only be referring to storing up treasures in heaven, challenging us to be generous, to tithe, to serve, and send our resources on ahead of us. What struck me in this chapter was Sally’s insightful point with this question: Have you considered that your children are eternal souls that will last for eternity?

“My children are eternal human beings whose lives and souls will last throughout all of eternity…God has given them into my husband’s and my hands to protect and lead and shepherd them through this life on earth; in his sight, they are my first priority. Committing myself to fulfilling God’s design falls under the admonition to seek first his kingdom – the kingdom of heaven where we will live for all eternity. The kingdom of this world and all of its pleasures last only for a time. My children will become treasures in heaven if they indeed learn to love God and serve him with their whole hearts. This is eternal work – to train the hearts, minds, and consciences in righteousness.

This is our eternal work as parents – to invest in building a strong generation of children, through building their moral, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being, so they might function as responsible adults for the rest of their lives. This is my primary mission field – the souls of my children!

One day I will stand before the Judgment seat, and the Lord will ask me to give an account to him for the precious souls that he entrusted into my hands. Oh that I might be found faithful!

“Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults – any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed.”

There is a need for someone to take responsibility to invest in their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Who is willing to invest the time and energy needed to accomplish such a task? Should we leave it to others, the world around us, the “professionals”? A wise God has provided such a person in His perfect ordered plan for creation – and that person is a mother, working in partnership with her husband, to accomplish such a task!

What stood out to you in this chapter? Please feel free to share a quote, or anything that the Lord has been challenging you with thus far.

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The Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife – Part 2

Welcome back for part 2, with highlights from Wife Dressing by Anne Fogarty from my sister, Christa, and a few little ideas of my own! For part 1, visit here.

A General Guide to Wife Dressing

1. Compress your Wardrobe

Be relentless. If it’s out of style-makes you itch or squirm with discomfort, turns your skin sallow- can it! Sentiment may cast a rosy  glow on some special piece or other, but in reality, it’s just taking up space.

With the dross and fool’s gold cleared away, the real nuggets shine. An uncluttered wardrobe gives you a working knowledge of what you have and full control over selections. I regularly (every month) clean out my closet and invariably give-away an item or two. It’s better to have fewer clothes, all wearable and each accessorized in your mind than the confusion of having three times the selection. Remember, weeding is a money saver – sell it or donate it and save on your income tax return!

2. The Jewelry Box

The best jewel box is one that is sparsely filled. Not being able to tell the forest for the trees is the chief woe of the overstuffed box. Simplicity, class. One or two fresh things is enough.

3. Excess Accessories

The Confusion of Profusion is too many scarves, belts, and other oddities. By “too many” I mean relics from the past, that are no longer in current use. If an accessory hasn’t been worn for a year, if it’s shabby, if the color is faded or doesn’t go with anything you have, if you simply cant stand to wear it…ditch it.

Here are some added thoughts and ideas from Lindsay…

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The Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife – Part 1

While on the topic of simplifying the wardrobe, my sister, Christa, has been reading Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being A Well-Dressed Wife by Anne Fogarty. This is a cute little book re-published from the 50′s but has a lot of practical advice for today. She wanted to share some cute little ideas that she has gleaned from the book with my readers! Thanks deary!

Wife dressing is many things:

An art.

A science.

A labor of love.

A means of self-expression.

And, above all, a contributing factor to a happy marriage.

Wife dressing begins with the traditional rings for your third finger, left hand. But the wedding ring is only the beginning. When your husband’s eyes light up as he comes in at night, you’re in sad shape if it’s only because he smells dinner cooking.

Most men claim to be indifferent to fashion, if not down-right afraid. They can contemplate outer space without blinking an eye, sacrifice their very lives in defense of our country, or even explore the dark cellar where you’ve heard noises-yet the mention of a shopping trip turns them pale and trembling.

So how can you serve your husband through your dress?

You will need:

  1. A frank understanding of yourself
  2. A healthy attitude toward your new responsibilities
  3. A willingness to learn and
  4. A buoyant elation about being alive.

All this can be boiled down to one word: Discipline.

Discipline makes you the woman you are. You are you. Not the model in that photo, or the girl beside you in the elevator, or even the gal sitting at the next lunch table. Discipline is the secret to good grooming, no matter your budget. Discipline prevents you from being deluded about the squishing into the wrong size, or buying something just because it’s on sale.

Stay tuned for part 2…

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Simplifying the Wardrobe – Part 1

Now isn’t that a simple wardrobe?

Continuing on in our simplifying series, I have received many requests to talk about clothing! Oh the joy of figuring out how much clothing is sufficient!

Remember again, the reason we are simplifying is so that we might have more freedom to enjoy the important things of life. Having an overstocked closet can definitely consume a lot of time as we stress over the fact and complain to our husbands or family “I have nothing to wear!” Let’s admit…we have all been there! “Nothing” in our book means nothing “new” to wear. Do we really need new items or do we need to develop our creativity in assembling new outfits from what we already have?

Shopping for clothing can consume a lot of time (to find modest clothing especially), in addition to washing and maintaining your wardrobe. Just because we may have the space to store them, shouldn’t give us license to fill it with more clothing. Women especially have more of a natural battle of desiring to look appealing and fashionable and thus a tendency to consume a significant wardrobe.

How can you begin to simplify?

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Soaked Oatmeal Breakfast

Why not our own little tutorial for enjoying the goodness of oatmeal, not only is it nutritious, but it is extremely frugal! I have found the soaking benefits to be very worthwhile and simple. If you are not familiar with the benefits of soaking, please read here. Basically soaking helps to break down phytates in grains which prevent proper digestion of the nutrients. Soaking breaks down the phytates and allows the body to properly absorb all the good content of those whole grains!

Besides the benefits for digesting, soaking also accomplishes a few other helpful things:

- Decreases cooking time – after soaking, you can cook up a batch of oatmeal in less than 5 minutes! Unsoaked oats can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes to cook.

- Provides a porridge texture – we love the porridge consistency of soaked oatmeal. It is not dry like standard oats, but is very smooth and delicious!

- Expands -thus stretching the oatmeal and you get more for your dollar! When you soak oatmeal it absorbs water, thus expanding and becoming more filling at the same time. Whereas unsoaked oatmeal only barely serves two of us (with the following recipe), the soaked version with make 4 significant hearty portions. That’s a frugal way to go with just a little foresight!

Soaked Oatmeal for 4 (multiply as desired)

1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 1/2 cups water (to just cover the oats – see picture)
1 Tbsp acid medium (kefir, whey, or yogurt)
1/8  cup ground whole wheat flour (this helps break down the phytates more quickly, according to this article)
1-2 Tbsp ground almonds or other nuts (we use a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding nuts and seeds!), optional
Other toppings: ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds, chopped apples, raisins, shredded coconut flakes

1. I find it easiest to soak my oatmeal in a glass quart size jar. I fill with the oats and just cover slightly with fresh filtered water. But you can use any various container.

2. Add your acid medium, and nuts, as desired. Soaking the nuts help break down their unique phytates as well.

3. Cover with lid and shake to combine. Easy! Takes a matter of 3-4 minutes to get those oats soaking away. Put in a cupboard and allow to soak.

Ideally, it is best to soak oats for 24 hours, because they have the highest level of phytates. Oftentimes that doesn’t happen at our house, but I try to at least get it soaking the night before to get a good 12 hours in.

After soaking, heat up an additional 1 1/4 cups of water. After it boils, add the soaked oats, and any additional toppings you desire. We love chopped apples, raisins and shredded coconut. Turn down temperature to a simmer, and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and top with ground flax seeds, if desired.

Serve with butter, honey and fresh milk for a wonderful nutritious breakfast!

The flax seeds and nuts increase fiber and protein! Great for pregnant mommies too!

Visit Tammy’s Recipes for further kitchen tips.
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Mission of Motherhood: You are a life-giver!

Today we continue our book study on The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson with chapter 2: Beautiful by Design. This book has a wealth of encouragement to grant vision and purpose for your role as a mother! Please join us!

Chapter 2 reaffirms the beauty of God’s purpose and design for us as mothers and the home. In our day and age, there is mass confusion, frustration, conflict over the role of a mother. I personally long to have a Biblical understanding of God’s original design. Much of this conflict is a result of the falleness and depravity of the human race.

In Genesis 1:26-27, we read about the creation of man and woman. We see that both men and women were made in the image and likeness of God.  We were made to display His attributes, to reflect His likeness in our work, our leisure, and the purpose of our lives. Sally shares: “Each of us, man and woman, was given the purpose of partnering with God to rule over the world and to make it productive…Each of us is created with a capacity and purpose to be productive and creative in life – according to our drives, gifts, and strengths – and to glorify God as we rule over the specific dominion he has entrusted to us.”

Part of our original greatest privileges in our creation was the important responsibility to bring other human beings into the world. “These offspring were also to know the design of God. In the context of family, they would learn what it meant to be made in the righteous image of their Creator, to subdue the earth for God’s glory, and to populate the earth with their own children, thus producing a godly heritage.”

While women and men were created equal, and they both were assigned the joint task of bearing children and subduing the earth, they were uniquely created different. Eve by the very meaning of her name is a “life-giver” – she was created to bring life into the world! Her unique physical body was particularly designed for such a purpose -He gave her a womb to bear a child, breasts to feed it, a more padded physique suited for cardling babies, and the emotional makeup, with all the right hormones, to be able to nurture and care for her children…According to recent research, he even structured our brains to make it easier for us to handle several tasks at once - as the tasks of caring for a household and small children demand.”

Wow! That is amazing to me! We all, whether we bear children or not, we are created to be life-givers!

“Not every woman will marry. Not every woman will be able to bear children. And yet all women have the God-given capacity to live in ways that beautifully and purposefully express their life-giving feminine design -their helper or cooperative approach to tasks, their ability to multitask, their nesting instincts and creative spirit. A woman’s body was made, in part, to bring life into the world, and that’s a good thing from God’s point of view. However, the common purpose for all woman is to glorify God in whatever circumstances and boundaries of life we find ourselves, trusting him to show us how we can best use our gifts for him.”

Consider…are we being life-givers in our domain or life-takers? Are we sucking life out of our families and friends by our wrong attitudes, pride, bitterness or frustration at where God has placed us or called us to in this season.

With the fall of mankind, recording in Genesis 3:1-6,  Sally points out: “humans no longer reasoned as God reasoned, and they began to make up their own theories about their purpose in life.” Satan sought to attach the foundation of the family, which was designed by God to be the stable foundation of life. Rather than considering how we are created to serve and love one another, a self-centered approach to life results from sin. Children tend to be seen as burdens rather than blessings (Ps. 127),  a monetary expense rather than a gift to be cherished, parents tend to depend upon their children to fulfill their own emotional needs, and children become self-centered little people as a result. We can so easily loose sight of passing on a legacy of righteousness to the next generation as we get caught up in a culture of personal fulfillment.

What a glorious truth that God is not finished with us yet! Even though we may throw aside his original purpose and design, He is beautifully transforming us through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, that we might walk in newness of life, and take hold again that purpose of being life-givers in all that we do!

What stood out to you in this chapter? Please feel free to share a quote, a prayer, or anything that the Lord has been challenging you with thus far. How can we seek to fulfill God’s purpose of being life-givers rather than life-takers?

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