Monthly Archives: May 2009
Our local grocery store has been offering pork loins on sale about every other week and usually I can get 30 chops for about $16.00. The butcher cuts them at no charge and I bring them home and repackage into just the right number for meals for the family. It has inspired me to try new recipes and this was so good I had to share it. I found both the pork chops and the rice in the cookbook Food That Says Welcome by Barbara Smith, mom of Michael W. Smith. Everything I have tried from this little paperback book has been delicious and easily prepared ahead of time.
Asian Pork Chops with Cranberry and Pecan Rice
2/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup. Worchestershire sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
2 TBS. dry mustard
1 Tbs. fresh ground pepper
2 TBS. minced garlic
8-10 pork chops, trimmed
Mix all ingredients together and pour over pork chops, sealing in a ziplock bag. Place in bowl in fridge for about 8 hours. Remove from bag and discard marinade. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 1 hour, depending on thickness of chops.
1 pkg. long grain and wild rice prepared as directed on package
4 cups prepared white rice
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
¼ chop fresh chopped parsley or dried substitute
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted pecans
Prepare wild rice, adding celery and onion as it cooks down. Mix with white rice and set aside. Heat together all but the last two ingredients. Before serving fluff rice mixture and add cranberries and pecans. Serve pork chops on the bed of rice.
HT: Carolyn Custis James and my friend, Dennis
During the past few months I have been voraciously reading books and articles and watching documentaries about John and Abigail Adams and have been enjoying myself immensely. This coming week’s podcast about their life as a couple and their marriage has been especially compelling to me as I have considered my own relationship with my husband and how homeschooling has had an impact on it. Considered to be one of the finest statesmen and perhaps the greatest patriot the United States has ever seen, Adams himself stated that he could not have accomplished all that he did apart from the partnership he enjoyed with his wife.
Though Abigail died several years before their son, John Quincy Adams, became president of the United States, John lived to enjoy that moment of parenting success. After the inauguration, someone approached John Adams and commented that certainly he must have been quite proud of his son and remarked that he must have had tremendous influence over his life and education. John’s only reply was “He had a mother.”
When I read that wonderful encouragement, one that would be appreciated by all mothers who have given their lives to raising and teaching children, I couldn’t help but see a stark contrast between Adams’ simple response and the emphasis on fathers and their children as discussed at the Homeschooling Leadership Summit.
This week, John Holzmann has added part one and part two of his assessment of Kevin Swanson’s comments and, though there are several things I could address, one thing really bothered me: the one on one discipleship of children is described as the father’s role rather than a joint effort between the father and the mother. Let me explain my concerns:
1. There is no biblical precedence that discipleship of children is the sole responsibility of fathers. In fact, we see both commands in Scripture to the contrary as well as praiseworthy examples of mothers spiritually training sons.
Children are admonished “honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 21:12, Matthew 15:4 and Ephesians 6:2) and are commanded to “forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8 and Proverbs 6:20). If the children are Christians, they are commanded to put the one anothers of Scripture into practice even with their moms…love one another, bear one another’s burdens, exhort one another, forgive one another, etc.
Eunice and Lois, the grandmother and mother of Timothy, were praised for having raised this outstanding young pastor in the faith since his own father was not a believer. And we cannot forget that Proverbs 31 is instruction that was given by a mother to her son, King Lemuel, as she admonished him how to find a godly wife. Are fathers to disciple their children? Absolutely! Are mothers to do so as well. Of course we are.
2. Secondly, in practical terms and borrowing the word “normative” from Mr. Swanson’s vocabulary, most “normative” homeschooling situations involve a father who works outside the home and a mother who is home full time.
I know many homeschooling families where moms work part time and some who work full time, either with the moms doing the schooling themselves when they come home or the dads doing the teaching. A few families enjoy having both mom and dad home, sharing in the teaching responsibilities. But, by and large, dad goes out the door to work in the morning and mom’s full time job is homemaker and homeschooling mother.
If we are to take Deuteronomy 6 seriously as homeschooling moms, we will seize every opportunity to counsel and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord all throughout the day. Some of my fondest memories with my children involve time we traveled to and from music lessons or other commitments. These times were full of rich, one on one conversation about all the important matters in life: choosing a spouse, seeking God’s calling on your life, theology, personal relationships, Biblical worldview, etc. To this day I enjoy a spiritual and intellectual relationship with my grown children and share times of rich fellowship with them.
In looking back over the past 33 years of parenting, I am exceedingly grateful that the Lord has always provided a job for Clay that has allowed us to live on one income. I am even more blessed that the Lord has blessed Clay with talents, abilities, and gifts that He continues to use in a very specialized field of work, one that he really enjoys. For me to lament his not being home full time would demonstrate a spirit of ungratefulness to God for all He has done to provide for our family. And to imply that my children have been shortchanged by having a mom do the bulk of the teaching rather than dad would also be an act of ungratefulness. I am concerned that many who are considering homeschooling are getting the impression that dads MUST be home in order to raise godly sons and this is unfortunate and I hope this message deters no one.
3. Kevin Swanson has stated that building solid relationships with children is at the core of homeschooling and I heartily agree.
While my desire is to raise children who are autonomous and productive citizens of society, I personally believe that enjoying a close relationship with my children is the icing on the cake, the cherry on the top, of all the academic, character, and spiritual efforts we have sought and achieved.
But I am confused about the nature of the relationships Kevin and others within his homeschooling community are promoting and I want to know just what he thinks those relationships are supposed to look like. There is continual talk about “turning the hearts of the children toward their fathers” but no mention about building the relationships of children with their mothers or between mothers and fathers.
It has really saddened me within the last few years to hear of one homeschooling family after another experiencing divorce, often with the mom choosing to leave home and sometimes her young children. The other day someone, having recently learned about a family she cared greatly about who had experienced this, asked me why I think this happens. My response is that I believe there has not been enough emphasis on what a true, godly home looks like, one where each serves one another, each seeks to put the needs of others before themselves, each seeks to help the other prepare for and answer Christ’s call on their lives. Since so much emphasis is placed on the unbibilical view that only men, specifically dads, have a calling from the Lord, it takes a Herculean effort to prop up this skewed perspective, much to the detriment of the family, especially the homeschooling mom.
I also believe that there has been so much emphasis on the “non romantic” nature of marriage, ie courtship and betrothal paradigms, that parents often choose to downplay the “sparks” that healthy marriages must have. Women who long to be treated like sweethearts and lovers are thought of only as mothers and housekeepers themselves and long to be “courted” by their husbands. Instead of the marriage being emphasized, it appears that the relationships between fathers and daughters is a top priority and I am not sure why this is.
My guess is that many daughters are at risk and are finding themselves frustrated by their dad’s vision. They are not being intellectually or spiritually challenged. Many of them are finding themselves in impossible situations, being in their mid to late twenties with no marketable skills, drivers’ licenses, or college or even high school diplomas. Many of them know all about running a household but little about properly socializing with young men, enjoying them as brothers in the Lord. While I have no concerns about young women choosing to stay home until marriage, I am concerned about whether or not some of these girls are making these choices themselves or are feeling pressured to fit into a paradigm.
Adding to this strange mix of relationship emphases, look at this clip from Voddie Baucham talking about fathers and daughters: “A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that. And instead they go find a substitute daughter….you’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. These old guys going and finding these substitute daughters.”
To say I am stunned by this is an understatement. (I HAVE seen this often and believe me the guys were NOT looking for substitute daughters!) I am trying to understand what this says about the “core of homeschooling is in relationships.” I have never heard of this “need” Voddie is talking about. Where is it supported in Scripture? Maybe someone could explain this to me.
I look forward to more of John’s good insights on the Homeschooling Leadership Conference and will share here as they are available.
My son and his family have recently spent time visiting his wife’s family in Miami. These are my daughter-in-law’s grandparents who escaped from Castro’s Cuba during the 1950′s and were supported by Baptist churches as they arrived in America. Both sides of her family share this wonderful heritage as immigrants and are blessed to enjoy a fourth generation of believers, even if they are wiggly ones!
A couple months ago I was asked to participate in a local homeschool curriculum look-see and to provide a table with books that would encourage building relationships with our children. Since I had just completed the Moore interviews, of course those books were part of my display. But as moms stopped by the table that morning and I listened to them talk about their goals for homeschooling, I repeatedly suggested reading Grace-Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel.
Though not a book written specifically for homeschoolers, Dr. Kimmel’s approach to building positive relationships with children is a practical one that will enable parents to set the tone of grace in their homes and smoothly transition with their children from childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood. And it is just the material for homeschoolers that I feel is missing in much of what is taught and marketed to homeschooling families today!
Using the relationship of our Heavenly Father as the model, Dr. Kimmel does not hand out a check list of impossible standards but rather paints a picture of God’s grace in a believers’ life, demonstrating how that same grace ought to be poured out into the lives of our children. He begins his book by examining the two common parenting extremes and he explains how both of these views are equally spiritually toxic to children, eventually driving them away from the relationship with Christ we want them to have.
The first extreme view of parenting is that of having few if any boundaries. These parents don’t get involved with their children’s friends, they allow their children complete freedom on television and on the internet, allow them to date in junior high, and even provide hotel rooms for their after prom activities. Though most of us don’t believe Christian parents have this mindset, I hear this sort of discussion often among parents who take their kids to church but who don’t understand their God-given role as moms and dads in everyday life.
At the other extreme end of the spectrum are those parents who bring in their parenting boundaries far too tightly, placing undue burdens on their children, building fences where none should exist. Unfortunately, it is homeschooling families who are more apt to gravitate toward this end of the spectrum, often believing that those fences give them more approval or protection from God.
In contrast to these views, Dr. Kimmel shows us what a grace-based family will look like:
“Grace-based parents spend their time entrusting themselves to Christ. They live to know God more. Their children are the daily recipients of the grace these parents are enjoying from the Lord. If you watch them in action, they appear to be peaceful and very much in love with God. They are especially graceful when their children are hardest to love. Their advice to their children would be a mixture of: “You are a gift from God, go make a difference” and “You may struggle doing the right thing sometimes, but you’re forgiven.”
Grace based families are a breath of fresh air. They process their day-to-day life with an air of confidence that comes from knowing God profoundly loves them. The key characteristic of grace-based families is that they aren’t afraid. They are especially unafraid of all the evil around them…This changes the way children view their parents and the choices they make on their behalf. It also gives children a much more attractive view of their parents’ faith.
Parents who operate by grace instead of by a checklist or popular opinion are a lot easier for their children to trust. And when a child’s world is falling apart, he is more inclined to turn to parents whose primary description is “grace.”
Grace-based parents have a keen awareness of their feet of clay. They understand their own propensity toward sin. This makes the grace and forgiveness they received from Christ much more appreciated. It stirs them to love and good deeds for the right reasons. They aren’t driven by guilt and the need to do penance. The last thing they want to do is stand in judgment of struggling people. They see themselves in these people and understand just how much of God’s love they have received. They are more inclined to want to love these people and care for the genuine needs in their life.”
And that was just from the introduction!
Dr. Kimmel goes on to offer antidotes to methods of toxic parenting and he does so by offering real solutions offered with grace, as you would expect! Grace-Based Parenting is tied for my number one relationship homeschooling book pick. Next week I will review my other number one choice!
It looks like we are going to have rain and thunderstorms again today so our plans to grill out are going to change. Here are a couple recipes to greet summer and that call for a trip to the farmer’s market or the backyard garden.
Chicago Hot Dogs ~ A restaurant in our area serves these and they are delicious, though I have never eaten one in the Windy City. I guess we will have to make a trip to a Cubs game to do so! This is my own version of them.
Oscar Mayer Deli Hot Dogs
good bakery buns, lightly toasted
dill pickle relish
celery salt, sprinkled over all
Boil hot dogs on stove top and assemble. Don’t ask me why but this combination is amazing. I used the mild peppers but the spicier ones would be good, too.
1 # box of rotini pasta, cooked al dente
1 medium sized jar green salad olives, including the brine
1 can black olives, drained
2 cups chopped red onion
2 cups chopped green pepper
1 chopped cucumber
1 cup olive oil
Pepperoni slices, optional
Mix well and chill before serving
You also might want to listen to the May 2007 Memorial Day podcast I did entitled Honoring and Remembering Past Generations.
“Abigail Adams, however, believed that education was as important for women as for men and felt that an educated woman could more capably perform the duties required in her domestic sphere, including child rearing, household management, and “retaining the affections of a man of understanding.” She recognized the importance of children being taught by mothers who were not merely literate but students themselves and she purposed to speak out in favor of a girl’s education every chance she had.” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled “Abigail Adams, Homechooling Mom, Part Two.”
And be sure to join me next week for the third and final podcast in this series as I explore the marriage of John and Abigail Adams and the lessons it holds for homeschooling moms today!
Just had to share the latest grandbaby pictures I got a couple days ago. This is my little Lola, 19 months old and pretending to be her mama on the piano.
And this sweet baby’s mama, my Mollie, is offering a special sale on the butterfly mobiles I raved about a while back. The next 11 people who purchase one will also receive a free surprise gift from her Royal Buffet Etsy shop. Mine brings me delight every day as it sways and swings in the breeze! And somehow swaying and swinging words just make me feel smarter!
Sometimes I am ashamed of myself.
People who know me very well know that I rarely hesitate to take a stand for anything I believe in. I will go to the mattresses if a real truth is at stake. In fact, I know there are times when I have downright scared people. For some of those instances, I am even sorry.
Then there are the other times, those painful moments I have been ashamed because I wasn’t as bold as I should have been. And it is usually at that point when the worst happens….one of my children steps up to the plate and I am left looking like the wimp I might really be.
The other day, I was standing in the grocery store checkout lane, eavesdropping on the conversation between the checker and the bagger as I piled radishes and tomatoes onto the conveyor belt. The older one was explaining how he is a psychology major and how he planned to work in a mental institution one day. Friendly and sometimes irritatingly gregarious soul that I am, I commented to him, “Oh, I was a psychology major, too, and spent my semester of abnormal psych working at a state hospital.”
He nodded and seemed interested so I continued, though I don’t know why this particular aspect of my college experience even popped into my head. “Of course, that was decades ago, back when they still placed mentally handicapped and Down’s syndrome adults in rooms with those who were mentally ill because they didn’t know any better.”
To this, he was intrigued and responded, “Yes, I have heard about that. What a shame.”
Now here is where my shameful moment begins. I DIDN’T SEE THE OPENING, THE POINT OF THE CONVERSATION WHERE I COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE. But my son did and so he took it.
“You hardly ever see any Down’s syndrome children anymore like you used to,” my son said.
The checker nodded again, looking intrigued.
My son continued. “That is because pregnant women have all those tests now and if they find out they are going to have a baby with Down’s syndrome, they just get an abortion instead.”
Ever feel like all 200 eyes of 100 grocery store customers might be on you?
I heard myself mutter, though quietly, “Yes, it is true that there is little value for human life these days,” hesitating to use the “a” word again and cringing a little at the political incorrectness of it all. I can be a tiger with an editorial staff but a whimp with a grocery store college student checker.
“You know, Hitler,” I heard my son say, “Hitler had the same plan, to exterminate all the unwanted people, those with handicaps, those who weren’t perfect. It is just like that today. They want to exterminate unborn babies who aren’t perfect.”
The checker paused, looking back and forth between me and my son. “Wow!” he said. “I had never thought about that before, but it is so true!”
We gathered our bags and left the checker deep in thought. I kept wondering why I hadn’t been the one to say these things, that it took my son, my son who is slow of speech and sometimes slow of thought, my son with the learning disabilities, to boldly speak the truth.
“Out of the mouth of babes (the weak, foolish, or contemptible) and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” ~ Psalm 8:2
You know how you wander from one blog to another or website to website only to forget how you got there? That happened to me the other day when I came across a wonderful resource for inspiration, schooling, and just plain enjoyment.
Story-telling is the earliest form of recording events and is making a comeback in a big way. Not long ago I read an article describing how company CEO’s will bring in professional story tellers to instruct employees in how to communicate essential truths through the telling of stories, knowing that concepts taught through personal stories will be remembered long after the most amazing PowerPoint presentation.
Author Crystal Laine Miller’s website is a treasury of stories from “when I was a kid” and each one is a living history lesson. The blog also includes reviews of books, which is always a good thing for homeschooling moms. I think a fun project would be to have children record stories from older people and turn them into a booklet form, using Crystal’s blog as a format.
If you haven’t already signed up to receive the free 3-newsletter from The Old Schoolhouse, now is a great time to do so. This week’s article on the importance of downtime for homeschooling moms is a great reminder. If you haven’t listened to my podcast on the importance of mom’s taking personal days, be sure you take a personal day and do that, too! You also might want to read my suggestions for 36 ways to relax, one for each week of the school year!
For those who live within the Peoria area and have children who are interested in natural disasters, as I do, Titanic: Treasures from the Deep Mobile Museum is coming to the Shoppes at Grand Prairie on June 5-6 from 12:00pm to 8:00pm and June 7 from 11:00am to 4:00pm.
The tour is free and includes a complimentary photo of your party and Titanic trivia games. You enter the exhibition as a real passenger, view genuine artifacts recovered from the ocean floor, and learn the inspirational stories of the Titanic passengers. For more information and a schedule of their other stops be sure to visit their website.
John Holzmann has written his commentary on one of Kevin Swanson’s presentations at the Homeschooling Leadership Summit that was held in Indianapolis in March. Be sure to read the comment from his son, Luke, which left nothing else to be said! Gotta love the insights of a grown-up homeschooler!