Monthly Archives: December 2008
The first of our “troops” arrived yesterday, flying in from sunny Orlando to some snow and the remnants of the worst ice storm I can ever remember. We had no electricity for about 16 hours on Thursday so I am a day behind on everything. Ever notice how absolutely everything we need to do involves plugging something in?
Today and tomorrow everyone else flies or drives in; it is the first time in three years that all the kids will be here for Christmas. 23 stockings are hanging in the hallway, waiting to be loaded with little treasures and the freezer is full of goodies. I can’t wait.
If I get a chance I will post a couple more recipes for anyone who is still baking.
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” ~ Walt Streightiff
It seems like the homes in our neighborhood have more beautiful light displays than I can remember in years past and I find myself saving errands for running after dark just so I can enjoy the twinkle and sparkle of every block. Down the street in a church parking lot sits a bigger-than-life stable with a Holy Family, colorful and cozy under the glow of lights, undaunted by sleet, snow, and below zero windchill. This is my 56th Christmas and I wonder how many decorated trees I have seen in my life, how many Nativity scenes I have pondered.
Dear Lord, help me to come to your manger with awe, childlike and full of wonder, contemplating the frailty of a new born baby but never forgetting the power of the cross.
We have been cooking and baking up a storm here, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the entire family for Christmas. We will have 23 in our home some of the time, including 10 who are 8 and under in age! It ought to be a crazy Christmas and I can’t wait for the cousins to see each other again. Right now my cat peacefully sleeps under the Christmas tree, not a care in the world, visions of catnip dancing in his head. He has no idea of how his world will soon be rocked!
I thought it might be fun to share a couple recipes today in case you are looking for inspiration.
Two 12 ounce packages of white chocolate chips
2 c. small pretzels
2 c. apple-cinnamon cereal
2 c. graham cracker cereal
2 c. pecans
Melt white chocolate chips over low heat in a pan on stove top or in microwave, stirring frequently and being careful mixture does not burn. Toss all other ingredients together in bowl, drizzle with melted chips. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place in fridge or freezer until firm. Break apart and store. This recipe will fit into a one gallon Ziploc freezer bag and I freeze it until ready to serve.
Farm Journal Cranberry Bread
3 cups chopped raw cranberries
3 TBS. grated orange peel or dried lemon peel
6 TBS. sugar
6 c. silfted all-purpose flour
2 TBS. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ TBS. salt
½ TBS. nutmeg
1 ½ c. orange juice
1 ½ c. water
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped walnuts
Mix together cranberries, 6 TBS. sugar, and orange or lemon peel. Set aside.
Beat together eggs, orange juice, and milk. Mix together dry ingredients and add to wet. Mix well. Add cranberries and gently mix.
Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (can use the mini-loaf pans and adjust baking time).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 ½, covering with foil if loaves begin to brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Can freeze. Allow to sit for 24 hours before slicing. Can also be drizzled with a butter cream icing before serving.
This week’s podcast features Corrie Marnett in part 6 of the series from the Treasures of a Mother’s Heart Day of Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms retreat that was held in Peoria on November 8, 2008. This week, Corrie is discussing the reasons why it is so important for homeschooling moms to continually be in the Word of God.
I recently picked up my copy of Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s 1988 Home School Burnout, a book I had not read since the year is was published and I was homeschooling 3 children, had one toddler, and a newborn contributing to my own burnout potential. I will soon be interviewing both the Moore’s daughter, Kathie, and Ellen Dana from the Moore Academy for a series of podcasts, and wanted to refresh my memory about some of the things that had impacted my own early years as a homeschooler, thanks to the Moores and their research.
One point that was made in the early part of the book was the idea that some homeschoolers tend to see the government education system or even public school teachers as the enemy of home education and I must admit that there have been times when it has been difficult not to agree with that. But over the past couple of days I have thought long and hard about whom the real enemy is and why identifying the real threat to home schooling is crucial, especially as we define and seek to participate in multi-generational faithfulness as homeschooling parents. As always happens, the Lord provided me with a real example to teach me what He wanted me to know.
On Sunday afternoon, my Aunt Edith passed away. She was almost 88 years old and spent most of her life as an evangelist to children. Her obituary will be in the paper this week and will say that she taught public school for decades but in reality, she spent those years giving testimony of her faith in Jesus Christ to several generations of children. My Aunt Edith practiced multi-generational faithfulness. While the Lord gave her one physical daughter, she also gave her hundreds of spiritual sons and daughters because of her commitment to proclaiming the Gospel message of Jesus within the school systems of Central Illinois.
My mom, her younger sister, remembers when Edith traveled along miles of gravel and dirt roads to teach K-12 in country schools. Having only graduated from high school at that point, she began taking college classes in order to fulfill the legal requirements for teaching and eventually graduated and received a teaching certificate. Most of her career was spent teaching first graders, the age she most delighted in throughout her entire life.
Edith was married to her first husband for 25 years until he died of cancer. A few years later she remarried and she and her husband, Sam, began to have a vision for Child Evangelism Fellowship. I remember her sharing with me that she had started to see so many little ones in her classrooms who were from broken and dysfunctional homes that her heart was stirred to minister to them any way that she could. So she opened her home to Good News Clubs, each week inviting dozens of neighborhood children into a refurbished basement, complete with small tables and chairs, flannel graph boards, toys, and games. There they were shown the love of Christ, given homemade snacks, and were challenged with the message of God’s grace.
When she and Sam married, Sam, a widower, had moved into her home but had kept his house in a neighborhood of Peoria that was slowly being taken over by drug use and gang violence. Undaunted, Edith decided they ought to open another Good News Club in that neighborhood and so they did, welcoming in dozens more children, sharing the good news of salvation. Many more came to Christ and some brought their parents along to hear, too.
When the Supreme Court ruled in 1962 that prayer was to be banned from public school classrooms, Edith knew that, as a Christian, she could not comply and continued to prayer aloud over her students every day until she retired decades later. God honored her faithfulness and protected her, no student or parent ever questioning her practice. And because of her outspoken proclamation of the Gospel message, several generations of children within her school were introduced to the Savior.
My Aunt Edith had been raised by a mother who read the Word of God, my own grandmother who also shared her love of the Word with me. The Lord gave her a life-long calling to evangelism that she purposed to fulfill whenever and wherever she could, her greatest mission field being the public school system.
But not once in the years we homeschooled did I ever sense or hear a negative word about homeschooling from her. In fact, she treated me as a colleague, often offering curricula or fun projects from her files for me to share with my children. She was excited about homeschooling and the potential she saw that it held for children. She became one of the biggest cheerleaders I had for homeschooling and her encouragement went beyond me to families in her church who also had chosen this path.
One day she shared with me that she had been raking the leaves in her front yard when a middle-aged man with his son stopped by and asked her if she was the same lady who used to have all the children come to her house for Bible lessons. Nodding to him, he went on to tell her that he had attended one of her Good News clubs as a child and how much it had changed his life. Looking at his little boy, my aunt was overwhelmed with God’s goodness and faithfulness in furthering His Kingdom through even another generation.
My Aunt Edith had never heard the phrase “militant fecundity” yet she loved children and welcomed all she could into her home and her life. If she had heard the phrase “multi-generational faithfulness,” I am certain she would also have boldly stated that the faithfulness comes from God’s hand rather than from any works we might do. Yet, in her faithfulness as an evangelist to the little ones in her neighborhood and in her classrooms over the years, the Lord brought many to Himself, not for the glory or agenda of any man but for His glory alone.
As readers of the series of articles I did on the family integrated church movement know, I have a heart for home discipleship and believe it is a vital aspect of what we do as Christian parents, especially as homeschooling parents who are seeking to put Deuteronomy 6 into practice every single day. But I believe that God is so much bigger than what we do or do not do within His redemption plan, including how He chooses to bring others to Himself.
According to some, age segregated Sunday school for little ones flies in the face of multi-generational faithfulness. To them, youth groups of all kinds, Good News Clubs, camps, and AWANA are all part of a Darwinian plot against the family. But I would say emphatically that their definition of multi-generational faithfulness is skewed and is used to define all sorts of things that my Aunt Edith would never have considered as crucial to the lives of those who seek to follow Christ from generation to generation. Preaching Jesus and Him crucified and purposing to make disciples who love Him, reflecting His faithfulness to us, and to love their neighbors as themselves would most likely be her definition. It would be mine as well.
Dr. Cindy Kunsman, whom I interviewed last summer on the various aspects of spiritual abuse, has been attempting to correspond with Voddie Baucham the past few weeks, hoping for some clarification on his views regarding patriocentricity, family integrated churches, and other related topics. Dr. Baucham began the exchange by mentioning Cindy in a blog article. After indicating his willingness to answer any questions she put to him, after nearly two weeks she has received no response. The past few days she has posted her questions as well as some helpful analysis on her blog and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this discussion to check it out. Her questions for him are good ones and I know many others would love to see the answers to them.
For the record, we have asked similar questions of Stacy McDonald in the past and still have received no answer. Others have contacted Doug Phillips with the same result and just a few weeks ago I posed questions to the president of Christian Home Educators of Colorado when he dropped by here but he also refused to answer them. I believe that those who love home education and who want to see it continue as a viable option for the educating of Christian children deserve honest answers from those who have set themselves up as the leaders within this movement.
The temps dropped into the single digits over the weekend and I craved something tummy warming to eat, as did everyone else in the family. If you love cottage fries, this recipe will be a big treat.
1 stick butter (8 TBS.)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
8-10 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cans chicken broth (about 3 cups)
5 cups milk or milk and half and half combination
Flour or corn starch to thicken
In pan, melt butter and sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add parsley. Add sliced potatoes and cook until tender and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Add broth and scrape bottom of pan until the crusty pieces are loosened. Cook until potatoes are fully cooked and flavors blend. Add salt and pepper. Add milk and simmer. Thicken to your preference with either flour or corn starch dissolved and mixed with water.
Serve with crumbled bacon, cheese, crackers. This is even better the second day.
I remember exactly when it was I realized that Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. We had taken our children to see a live stage production of Dickens Christmas Carol, our now 20 year old just a toddler on my lap who sat spell bound by the entire event. Not only is the story satisfying, as classics always are, but the importance of the relationships we share, especially as experienced during Christmas, touched my heart in a new way. I realized the value of family traditions and purposed to continue the ones we had started during our early years of marriage. I also thought about how those traditions might fit into other things we wanted to pass along to our own children because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
This past week we pulled out Christmas decorations and began preparing the house for family and friends who will come in the next few weeks. When Clay was a child, his dad always filled stockings for him and his sister, a tradition we have continued first with our own children and now with the grandchildren who spend Christmas with us. Everyone is not always here at the same time, but the stockings for each one hang in the front hall and every year it is fun to look at the new ones that have been added as our family has grown. The rule is that you can enjoy your own stocking when you wake up but you have to wait for everyone else to open the presents under the tree. (I suspect that my father-in-law was buying himself a few extra minutes of shut-eye when he dreamed up this tradition.)
In the past we have made the trek to the Christmas tree farm but this year we bought an artificial tree for the first time. I must admit I was a little nostalgic for those days of tromping through the snow and walking up and down the evergreen- dotted hills looking for the perfect tree. But the new tree is beautiful as it wears the ornaments I made the year after a house fire destroyed all the ones we had collected and the ornaments continue to tell part of our family story, reminding us of God’s faithfulness to us.
When everyone arrives, we will play board games, eat my famous cheese ball, tell both new and old family stories, recollect Christmases past when my dad and grandmother were still living, feast on Christmas turkey and pies and cookies of all sorts. We will sing Christmas carols, enjoy the church choir, and repeat the story of Christ’s birth as we look at the nativity set on the fireplace mantel.
But I will also see some changes this year. We have four new babies who have never been to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We have new stories to tell since we were all together and I will begin as I show them a sweet adobe house ornament, sent to me by the dear ladies I shared with at a homeschooling mom’s retreat in New Mexico. I am excited to remember God’s faithfulness in the lives of these wonderful moms and can’t wait to pass that along to the rest of my family. Among other things, I also will begin the family tablecloth tradition that my friend, Kourtni, wrote about on her blog a few weeks ago. What a wonderful way to visibly see God’s blessing in the lives of a family that has purposed to serve the Lord as they have come together year after year.
During the past year I have seen the phrase “multi-generational faithfulness” used over and over again by homeschoolers and have finally decided that there is a greater need for examination of this term. When I first heard the phrase, I found myself nodding in support of it because I was assuming that it meant that homeschooling moms and dads were to faithfully pass along a spiritual heritage to their children, as we have purposed to do in our home, demonstrating to our children the very particular ways that we are part of God’s covenant family. In fact, I had thought of it in much the same way as we have passed along Christmas traditions, that is, painting a non-verbal picture for our children of those things that are particular to us, as Campbells.
But much more that anything we have done, I have believed that multi-generational faithfulness means that we can look back and see God’s faithfulness to us, His mercy poured out to multi generations. In fact, it has far less to do with what we do or have done and much more to do with what He has done and continues to do in us.
As I began looking at the ways the phrase has been used in homeschooling circles and at the teachings of those who use it, I have come to realize that there is very specific meaning attached to this phrase, another layer of teaching that is implied when one is called to multi-generational faithfulness. As with the series of articles on the family integrated church, I intend to explore the implications of this phrase over the next few weeks. It will undoubtedly take me longer during this busy season of preparing for and enjoying family, but I think it will be helpful and encouraging to those who are seeking to raise children for God’s glory alone.