Monthly Archives: June 2008
July 4 ~ Top Ten List of Things I Would Absolutely Do Again as a Homeschooling Mom
July 11 ~ God’s Epistle to Homeschooling Moms, Part One ~ Walking in God’s Grace
July 1 ~ God’s Epistle to Homeschooling Moms, Part Two ~ Extending God’s Mercy
July 25 ~ God’s Epistle to Homeschooling Moms, Part Three ~ Resting in God’s Peace
“It took me many years to realize that all children do not function on the same grade level for their age in all subjects. Because I was using a scope and sequence chart to plan the upcoming school year rather than looking at each child individually, I ended up causing them to become frustrated in certain areas and I would beat myself up over the fact that they were behind grade level in some areas and I was barely challenging them in other areas. It wasn’t until I realized that part of the beauty of homeschooling is to frequently evaluate each child according to each area of learning and to go with the progress you are seeing…..” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled “Top Ten List of Things I Would Never Do Again As A Homeschooling Mom”
We celebrated my mom’s birthday last night. I think her favorite gift was the Oxford Book of American Poetry. It is amazing to me how much poetry my mom has memorized and recites on whim. She knows a poem to fit just about any occasion! I hope when I am “walking down my 87th year,” I will still enjoy birthdays so much!
Here is the recipe for the lemon birthday cake. I served it with raspberry sherbet which turned out to be a perfect combination.
2 cups sugar
1 cup softened butter
2 ½ cups flour
1 TBS. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 ¼ cup half and half
3 drops yellow food coloring
(You can also add a tsp. of lemon extract to cake and/or frosting if you want a stronger lemon flavor but I prefer it to have a more subtle lemon taste.)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Combine flour, salt, and powder and add. Add the juice and zest, along with the food coloring, mixing well. Slowly add the half and half. The batter will appear to be grainy from the combination of milk and lemon juice. Spray 3 round cake pans with Pam and dust with flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack for 10 minutes. Gently remove from pans and allow to cool completely. Frost.
1 cup butter softened
2 pounds powdered sugar
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 drops yellow food coloring
Half and half to get accurate texture
In mixer, combine butter and sugar. Add lemon juice and zest, reserving some of the zest for garnish. Add food coloring. Add half and half until frosting is desired consistency. (I probably used about ¼ to ½ cup.)
And, of course, after Happy Birthday is sung, the birthday salutation is delivered, this year by Ben.
“Many happy returns to the day of thy birth
May joy and gladness be given.
And may the dear Father prepare thee on earth
For a beautiful birthday in heaven.”
She loved it! The deep blue four-inch vase sat in her glass cabinet for thirty years until her death. I’m convinced that she loved it more every year she lived. She didn’t have to say much about it. Just that fact that it sat there among other valuables and was dusted with cherished thoughts was enough. You could see mom having good memories.
I remember when I bought that blue vase for mom. I was on a trip with a school group when we stopped at a truck stop. There on the shelf was the blue vase, and in my pocket was some of my very own money. I’m not sure, as a grade-school boy, that I had bought anything costing three dollars on my own before, but I didn’t hesitate. I really wanted to buy it for mom.
When mother died, I took the vase and put it in my own cabinet. It represents the unselfish, encouraging nature of my mother. She was always like that, making out that you were so special. She always told us that the four children were equally loved and appreciated, but I knew she loved me the most. We all thought that about ourselves.
Selfish moms have it hard. They must struggle daily with the demands of their calling. But thankfully most moms have a generous, self-sacrificing nature for their children. It is not to be despised. If it is once a day her selflessness is called on, it is twenty times a day. And if it is twenty, it is 150,000 times in the twenty or so years while the children are being raised. And that’s just for starters.
Moms must be professional givers. They give their precious time, skills, energy, encouragement, and love unstintingly. It takes Christ in the woman to do that well.
I know that a lot of sinful stuff is hidden to the eyes of our children. Surely my parents weren’t perfect either. But they did seem perfect to me. It’s good of God to keep kids in the dark about how awful parents are. But, for the life of me, I think my mom really was special mostly because she was so full of Christ.
“Let her works praise her in the gates,” the Proverb states. Indeed. The goodness of a Christ-filled woman is tangible, seen in a myriad of acts of love for her kids.
Why does she do them?
Part of the reason is what is called “common grace.” God graciously puts familial love in the hearts of all mothers. Society is better because of it. But add Christ to that, and you have something far richer.
Only a Christian mom can love that child “for Christ’s sake,” and “as unto the Lord.” Only a Christian mom can show her child what it means to be a true believer in Christ. Only a Christian mom can pray effectively for her child. Only a Christian mom can teach her children the truth about Jesus. Only a Christian mom can teach her kids what marriage is all about, even when times are difficult. And only a Christian mom can die as a lover of Christ, contentedly anticipating eternity in the house of her heavenly father.
You young men, marry a truly Christian woman. And children, thank God for the love God has had for you that he put you in a home with such a mother. Fathers, cherish the mother of your children who lives so unselfishly. What beauty is there; what nobility of character; what Christ likeness!
The blue vase reminds me of her. Perhaps like no other item in our home. And I’m sure that the porcelain skunk with the bushy tail reminds my brother of mom also. The skunk rested, tail in the air, next to the blue vase in my mother’s cabinet. But now it’s in my brother’s house. As with the vase, it was an early token of my brother’s affection.
Skunks and truck stop vases are the stuff of love in a child’s mind, but cherishing skunks and vases is a mother’s special talent. May God bless them for it.
written by Jim Elliff
used by permission
“No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.” ~ Winston Churchill
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When we began homeschooling in the early 1980′s, we knew of one other family who homeschooled and 8 months after we began, they moved 1500 miles away! Not many people in our community had heard of the idea of homeschooling and I was often asked many questions. Is it legal to homeschool? How will your children be socialized? Does the government pay you to do this? We soon realized that we had chosen a path that was not very well-worn and that it was lined with naysayers who wished to frequently remind us of it!
Along with the choice came the very real concerns that any responsible woman would have. Can we raise a family on only one income? Will we be able to retire with only one pension? Will my housework ever get finished? Can I teach my children to read? How will I take care of a baby and teach math at the same time? Will my children be able to get into college? Will they be able to get jobs? We had chosen to educate our children in a most unconventional way.
Winston Churchill was unconventional. Little unnerved him. He placed in front of himself goals that most people could never hope to accomplish. His imagination drove his policies and more often than not he pursued unpopular choices. Resistance from those under his charge was a daily occurrence because he was in the business of training future leaders rather than filling heads with instructions. He began by winning the hearts and minds of those under his authority and then, after demonstrating his genuine concern for them, gently led them to accomplishing his goals. It has been said of his opponents that, in the end, “those who came to curse, remained to cheer.”
Today, remember that you, like Winston Churchill, have chosen the road less traveled and trust that, in the end, it will make all the difference to you and to your children. Rejoice in that choice!