March 28, 2012

Deep Creek Lake

Last weekend was our annual marriage getaway.  This is something Allen and I have done every spring for quite a number of years.  If you don't take a time like this for your spouse, you are really missing out on something special.  It is such a great way to connect in a deeper way and build those marriage bonds.  Sometimes we just go and play for a few days or even a few weeks.  (I would dare say every couple should spend some time without kids in Disney World.  We had so much fun the year we did that.)  Sometimes we use the time to strategize, plan and problem solve.  And sometimes, like last week, we get some much needed rest and relaxation.  

We usually have a tough time deciding where to spend our vacation.  As of this time last week, we were still debating where to go.  We were traveling with Winnie this year so that ruled out a lot of choices.  Thursday night we at last booked a house at Deep Creek  Lake.  We live only a few hours away and have never been there.  This is a terrible shame.  We found it to be a fantastic getaway as a couple and I suspect our kids would love some time up there, too.  

One catch in traveling on the East coast this time of year is the weather.  It is so unpredictable.  When we left home on Friday morning it was 85 degrees.  When we got up Monday morning it was 39.  In order to accommodate for cold, warm and rain, we end up packing more for a four day trip than we do for 3 weeks at the beach in the fall.  

Elisabeth insisted Carmella use her princess suitcase.  And she asked if she could pack.  Ellie doesn't travel light to worship on Sunday morning, so you might imagine what she deems necessary for a four day getaway in the mountains.  I gave her the clothes I insisted Winnie take and she folded and packed them.  Then in went a boat load of toys and stuffed things.  She was going to send Charlotte but I finally convinced her she might be lonely without her favorite pig.  

Somewhere around there she realized her sister was going without her.  Ellie was afraid she would be lonely without Winnie so Bitty Baby was dressed in Winnie's clothes.  I understand everyone missed Carmella and the "Winnie" doll was put on Carmella's schedule and spent the weekend in her place.  She was cuddled, played with, napped and fed a bottle right on schedule the whole time we were away.  Of course, Elisabeth made sure her clothes and diapers were changed regularly and the girls reported she snuggled with them during girl time after the boys went to bed each night.  The girls did say they were a little concerned come Sunday when they hadn't heard a sound from the nursery for several days.  Nothing gets past them, eh?
Our kids are so great.  We don't even worry about leaving them alone.  We know that they will do well, stay out of trouble, take good care of each other and have the house clean when we get home.  It is really such a blessing.  They have come to have a lot of special fun when we are away and don't even seem to mind us leaving.  So they all lined up to say goodbye. 
Even the Winnie doll.
But they were really sad about Winnie going away without them.  We managed to wrangle her away and get her into the car.  
 Traveling with a baby has its ups and downs.  Well, I haven't really figured out the downs yet, but there is usually a challenge of where to change and feed on the road.  We were only underway thirty minutes before we had to stop for a diaper change.  This is not very posh, but it was better than changing her in a public restroom.  Terri, that beach bag has more uses than you could guess.
 So, even without the kids, we love Chick-fil-A.  Carmella played with a spoon wrapper for thirty minutes while we feasted on all the waffle fries we could eat.
 The boys wanted to make sure their sister wasn't lonely without them, so before we left home each gave her a stuffed fellow to travel with.  This worked out well for nap time.
 I will always attest to what a waste of money toys are.  Kids will play with just about anything.  While we were unpacking, Carmella got a hold on the package of toilet paper.  She thought this was the greatest toy of all time and played with it almost exclusively until we left for home Monday morning.
 Well, okay.  Something else did get her attention.
 Yeah, the ceiling fan.  In fact, she was so much into it she kept craning her neck back more and more to see it until...
 ... she toppled herself right over.
 And it didn't seem to bother her at all.  She was rather delighted she could see it a little easier.
 When we turned the fan off, she went back to the bathroom tissue.
 After such beautiful weather for several weeks, we were bummed to see returning cold and rain in the forecast.  We did get time for a short walk in the woods before it started Friday afternoon.
 We came across this beautiful growth of periwinkle... also know as Vinca minor for those who are wondering.  Emma loves this vine and has been training one in her secret garden for several years.
 Our house was right on the lake so we took a few minutes to check out the water, too.
 And we picked a sweet little bit for Carmella.
 And then the rain started.

It was really a blessing, even though we would have enjoyed some outdoor activities.  We have been going so hard for so long we needed the rest.  We, all three, napped Saturday morning and afternoon.  And Sunday afternoon, too.  And we went to bed early.   And Pa slept in.

In between we listened to the rain and watched it fall through the many windows.
 I loved being up there.  There was no sound.  I mean, no noise except the rain hitting the roof.  And at night, there was no light.  Just us and the stars, the dark and the quiet.  Ahhhh.

I forgot about Carmella's second favorite plaything... the water bottle.
 Saturday we took a little outing so Allen could have some Mexican food.  A man and his enchilada should never be far apart.  It was kind of odd seeing the ski slopes almost clear.  The unusual winter was hard on the local economy.
 We understand there are lots of black bears in the area.  This is the only one we came across, thankfully.
 But we did find a great candy shop where we sat and chatted and played cards for an hour or so.  Just so its clear, Allen is a crooked card player.
 I love these candy jars.  And I really loved the salted caramel chocolates inside one of them.
 We stopped for a cup of coffee Friday on our way in.  A honey vanilla latte may now be my very favorite coffee drink.  We liked it so much we went back for another Saturday afternoon.
 Usually, I do all the planning and organizing and packing for a trip.  This time Allen planned and shopped for all the meals.  And then he cooked them.  What a treat.  Not that I mind cooking.  Actually, I love it.  But I didn't realize how much I needed the time to just rest.  I truly did little more than study, sleep and eat the whole weekend.  We had a lot of Cesar salad with our meals.
 Each evening I like to have a grapefruit for my bedtime snack.  I like it peeled and pith removed.  Imagine, Allen even spent something like an hour fixing one for me.  I told him now that I know he is capable of such gourmet meals, he might have to do more cooking at home.  We even had Chicken Alfredo one night.  Of course, he is used to me cooking for ten.  There were a lot of leftovers.  He told the kids we were going to stay a few more days since we had so much food yet. They didn't argue at all.
 I had fun taking pictures of these two... just because I could.  We took Elisabeth on one of these trips to a cabin in the woods when she was a newborn.  It is really special for us to have undivided time with any of our children and we enjoyed every minute with our littlest princess.
 We came across this school on our way to church Sunday morning.  Had to take a picture to show our big Rams fan.
 And then we stopped to take a few pictures of this hen house because it had some features we would like to incorporate in ours.  Sometimes I wonder if we might get arrested when we stop to take pictures.  People must wonder why we are standing there on a Sunday taking pictures of their coop.
 And speaking of church, we love visiting like minded churches when we travel.  We have made some very special friends among the brethren this way.  Allen found an incredible church about 20 minutes from where we were staying.  We were blessed by our time of worship and fellowship with this very active community.

Afterwards, we stopped for another latte.  It was the perfect morning to curl up with the paper and a honey vanilla latte in front of their huge fireplace.  A funny little bit happened.  Allen placed our order and then we had a seat.  A few minutes later one of the employees came over to us and said, "Don't you want decaf?"  I shook my head thinking she was just confirming.  Then she explained that when Allen placed the order with another employee he didn't request decaf.  However, the barrista had waited on us the two days prior and knew we usually ordered decaf.  I am so particular about good service, a lacking thing these days.  But this lovely lady wins the award for service, not to mention some kind of humanitarian award.  I shudder to think of what might have happened if I had caffeine!  
 The most strenuous thing I did all weekend was to work on my quilting.  Details to finish if I ever finish this hundred year old project.  It was nice to remember how much I enjoy this kind of still and quiet detail work.
We were missing our church family, Carmella was coming down with her first cold and I had a pounding headache so we decided to join our church family via live feed on Sunday night.  It is amazing what technology can do these days.

Here we were in the mountains, two hours from our home church.  And yet, we were able to be part of the service.  To me that is rather nifty in itself.  But check this out.  March is our missions month so many of our services have been preached by missionaries we support.  This particular service was preached by a missionary from Pennsylvania that we support in his work to the people of Africa.  So he was preaching via Skype from Botswana.  Our church family watched on the projector and we watched Live streaming.  Is it my small mind or does someone else find that very cool?

And that isn't even all.  Our church's service ends at 6:30 Sunday night.   We were able to join another church family we spend time with when we vacation down south via their podcast on the internet for their 7:00 service Sunday night.  Technology has some good to it after all.
Monday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning.  Albeit it was quite cold compared to last week.  I was grateful for the chance to see the morning rays reflecting over the lake before we packed up to go home.
 And of course there was a honey vanilla latte for the road.

March 25, 2012

Come To Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.


Sunday March 25, 2012
10:30 AM
5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

March 24, 2012

Sam's Crystals

My kids have always had a fascination with rocks.  I love rocks, too, but not necessarily the kind we dig out of the garden.  If one of my boys gives you a rock it is a high compliment.  One time we took the kids to Cherokee, NC for vacation.  They were so thrilled to find a store in the village full of rocks.  When Winnie was born, several baby size pebbles appeared on the window ledge of the nursery.  We knew our little gentlemen must truly be enamored with their new sister.

Each Sunday these fellows fish through the parking lot at church and present me with a rock.  And each Sunday I ooh and ahh over each one as I try to find something unique to comment on.  You can read more about Sunday rocks over here.  

Fortunately, it just so happens, there are a lot of rocks in our yard.  It got to be, I had so many gifts from the boys, I didn't know what to do with them anymore.  I have used them as borders in flower gardens and for various projects, but I had to find another outlet.  Thus was born the rock collection.  We have this spot under a guard rail up near the road where erosion is a real problem.  Pa had the boys trying to fill it with rocks to keep the soil from washing away.  When the kitchen windowsill gets full we gather them all up and take them to Mama's rock collection, under the guard rail.  They love it.  I love it.  It works for all of us.

A few weeks ago, we were in the yard working on a project we've been at for ten years... clearing the brush and thorns and poison and dead wood that piled up alongside the road at the neglect of our home's previous owner.  Sam and Ellie worked hard with us for some time.  After an hour or so, I noticed they were gone.  I looked around to see them pulling Samuel's little red wagon around our property.

When it was time for Ellie to go in for her nap they were delighted to show me what they had been up to.  Crystals.  They were digging up quartz and they happened to think they were very valuable crystals.  They were so incredibly excited by their finds.  
 Particularly that huge one in the back.  I bet it weighed more than my tiny little Samuel.  I am surprised he was able to lift it into the wagon.
 After washing them all they were piled back into the wagon for safe keeping.  I was thinking they would make a great addition to my rock collection.  Especially, the big one.
 But Sammy and Elisabeth had other plans.  When I came home from town the next afternoon, I saw this sign posted in front of the wagon which was parked on the corner.  How cute is that?  "Sam's Crystals."  My little entrepreneur had found a new business.   
  No way I was going to be the one to tell them not everyone will find those precious finds as valuable as he and Ellie did.  I bought the wagon load for five dollars.  Quite a bargain, since the giant was $2.00 alone.  They were just what I needed for protecting some tiny pine trees from the lawn mower this summer.
And worth every cent for the smile it brings to my heart. every time I catch sight of the giant...

...which reminds me of how much joy a wagon full of rocks brought two children for two entire days...
... and the thrill we will have as we watch Aedan's little pine trees grow over the years...
... and the pleasure it brought my sweet Sam when he carried his proceeds to church and added it to the love offering...

It's a win, win situation all around.   Ellie's happy.  Samuel's happy.  Aedan's happy.  Even Brother Hudson is happy.  In fact, you might say, we are all happy.

Because isn't that how our God works?  There are blessings in everything, if we will only be alert to look for them.

So, what rocks have you dug up lately that are blessings in disguise?

March 23, 2012

There will always be skeptics~ Reader Mail Part 8

Hello Kat,

Thank you so much for your long and thoughtful reply! I (and my husband) are naturally inclined to teach our children the way you write about, but it is hard to know if it is right when most parents are so permissive (and sadly the children are little terrors!) Many people seem to think temper tantrums are 'normal' but I don't agree (my mom says my brother and I never had them) but when we tell people 'Our children won't do such-and-such' they just laugh at us. Just like they laughed and said 'just wait till you have one! you'll change your mind' when we said we hoped to have a large family. Well guess what, they were wrong! :o) Anyway, I really appreciate the time and encouragment, I think I will print this off and refer to it over the years! Look forward to reading the rest on your blog :o).

Hugs, Tania

PS- I sent my husband your Rubber Ducky video and he was watching it early this morning and laughing out loud (I was in the bedroom feeding Bella). So cute.

Dear Tania,

I am glad it was a blessing to you.  I was so blessed and our lives were so changed by the people who were willing to share with us, that it is truly an honour for me to help the younger woman, as Titus commands us to do.  It is sad that you encounter such negative comments with regards to child bearing and child rearing, but sadly that is the typical response today.  My husband and I met with all the same sniggers when we were starting our family and trying to follow the Lord's plan.  We had tough skin and just kept on with what we felt He wanted us to do.  I have never been sorry, even for one minute, and I am glad to say that they were all wrong.  You can enjoy raising a large family and you can do it without all the business that this world calls normal.  Keep at it my friend, and one day you will have a young mama approach you and ask the same questions and you will have the honour of setting a young family on the path to a long and happy life together.

When our three girls were little,  Allen and I took them to California for several weeks.  That is about a five hour direct flight from our home.  With traveling to the airport, plane changes and layovers it was about twelve hours of travel.  That wears me out on a good day, so you might imagine how it could tax some little ones.  Emma Rose was still breastfeeding, that's how young they were. Anyway, Allen was sitting on one side of the aisle with the two older girls.  Emma was sitting on his lap.  I was across the aisle from them.  Two business men boarded the plane and sat next to me.  The one just hates children.  So much so, that when he checks in for a flight he asks how many children are on the plane that day.  Well, he was complaining to the gentleman he came with about how many kids there were and how it was going to be a miserable flight.  Then he turned to me and recounted the same information.  Ha!  He had no clue who he was talking to.  I went on to tell him I could guarantee at least three of those children would be very pleasant and he wouldn't even know they were there.  He asked why I said so and I pointed to my three girls.  "Those ones are with me," I said.  Well, I did enjoy the embarrassed look on his face a little too much.  Several hours into our flight he asked how on earth I did that, making them sit so quietly.  "His kids," he explained, "would have been whining, complaining, and running all over the place."  "It's called training," I told him.  "And it takes a parent who loves their child enough to commit to showing them the right way to go."  

Glad you all enjoyed the ducky video.  I will tell the girls.  They are the genius behind it and will enjoy knowing you found it amusing.

Keep enjoying that little angel of yours.  Every day is so precious and as you know they go far too fast.

Happy training, my friend.

Kat

March 22, 2012

Just One More Thought ~ Reader Mail Part 7

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question.  The response was long and involved so I have divided it into a seven part series.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o)  


Hugs, 
Tania 

One more thing to consider. Even though sweet Bella is your only child at this time, I know that you and your good husband hope to have a large family some day. So you may want to tuck this one away in your memory bank for when the time comes.

In our home, no one is permitted to play with baby unsupervised until they are able to follow through with the edicts of our training philosophy. Elisabeth loves to sit and play with Carmella on a blanket. This is a great blessing to all of us. They are growing a friendship, Carmella loves the attention and it gives me a chance to do a few things here and there.  I like to set a blanket in the doorway between the kitchen and living room while I am working.  I can keep an eye on them but they aren't focused on my presence.  This is a good way to train play time independent of mama's attention.

However, before I could walk away and leave them alone, I played with them for some time and then quietly observed for some time more to be sure Ellie was clear about what Carmella was and wasn't allowed to do and how she should respond to various situations. For example, Elisabeth knows Winnie can not have a toy she whines for.  She is not to hand toy after toy to Carmella to appease her, either.  Nor is she to retrieve toys over and over if her little sister throws them.

Another example is reading time with the boys.  Aedan particularly loves to read to Carmella.  He was not allowed to sit alone with her to read until he was clear on the way she was to handle books.    (See post about book training for questions on this topic.)

The big girls are expected to have brief training sessions in "no touch" with Carmella when they hold her. This has become great fun for everyone. It is a blessing for Carmella, too.  She can sit on our laps while we are schooling or eating dinner and we mustn't worry about her causing trouble. Otherwise, she would have to be in her crib or on a blanket or some other situation (play pen, exersaucer etc....) where she could not get into trouble or get hurt while we go about our day. Instead, she gets to be right along with us enjoying the fun, learning and taking in the life of a house of ten.

March 21, 2012

Book Training ~ Reader Mail Part 6

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote sent the following question.  Because of it is a long and involved reply I have divided it into a seven part series of posts.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania 







Now, in specifically dealing with book training.  Reading time is so good for your child and should be part of your daily routine from birth.  Aside from the obvious skill development associated with reading, listening and language skills there is also the benefit of learning the topic at hand.  But reading time is so much more!

In this time your child learns to sit quietly.  Any mama who has toted a child out of worship every Sunday until they are four will understand the benefit here.  Aside from the joy of being able to worship all together as a family, there is the blessing of being able to attend any public function where a child must sit quietly.  We have never thought twice about taking our children to concerts, museums, educational lectures, theaters, religious services, and the list goes on and on.  Because we know they will sit appropriately and quietly for the duration.  Each time we do, instead of receiving hateful stares from fellow attendees, we are complimented on how well our children sit and pay attention to the topic at hand.  This skill is also a blessing when taking long trips.  Which our family does frequently.

Allen and I had a good laugh at the expense of another couple several years ago.  As we were waiting to be seated we watched another couple be escorted to their table.  Next, the hostess came and seated our family.  We had six children at the time.  No sooner were we seated when the couple flagged down the hostess.  I noticed the wife gesturing to our table and then they were moved to another table across the restaurant.  I understood clearly that this couple feared our children would be a disturbance to their meal.  A few  minutes later another couple with just one child was escorted in and seated at a table beside the older couple.  Well, junior was a brat.  Plain and simple.  He was an annoyance to us all the way across the room.  Screaming, spilling things, up and down and running around.  Eventually, mother was out in the lobby with the child while father ate and then they switched.  Personally, I would have stayed home.  Regardless, Allen and I commented on how amusing it was that this older couple thought our large family would disrupt their quiet evening when in fact they would have had a more peaceful time if they had stayed where they were.  Before leaving the older couple stopped by our table to comment on how they had been observing our family and how shocked they were at the good behavior and quiet manners of our children.  There is a good lesson to be learned here, one ill behaved child can be wreak more havoc than six well trained children.  

So, for one thing, reading time is a great exercise in practice for sitting quietly.  Also, it is a good time to practice no touch.  As you noted, Dove, Baby should not touch books until she is able to handle them properly.  That means moving beyond the habit of putting everything in her mouth.  Carmella is still teething and still prefers to chew on things.  She is not permitted to handle a book.  She is allowed to tap and feel the pages as I read to her, which she very much enjoys.  She is not permitted to grab at the pages or yank on the book.  Again, a gentle thump on the offending hand is a great way to train in this and will be very effective to keep mama and baby content and story time a pleasant part of every day.

For book training, I recommend using the nice chunky board books which are sturdier than your typical volume.  Once baby is beyond chewing on books, she can learn to hold a book and turn pages with board books.  And once, she has demonstrated gentleness with a board book, I recommend practicing for real books by using catalogs or magazines.  Accidents will happen, you don't want it to be with a library book or a family heirloom.  What we are watching for here is baby  demonstrating a willingness to be respectful and careful with books.  This will later transfer to delicate treatment of any property, be it baby's, Mama's or a book checked out of the public library.

In addition to story time, we also have family Bible reading time each morning.   I already touched a bit on practice sitting quietly so I will just mention this briefly.  Family Bible time is an excellent time to practice church.  Our children are required to sit with their Bibles on their laps and follow along during the reading.  Those who can read, take turns reading aloud.  This is a very good way improve reading skills for those beginning readers.  Those who can't read yet are still required to bring their Bible to Family Bible Time.  Before they are able to read, someone else helps them turn to the proper pages for each part of the days' reading.  Often before they can fully follow along in the reading they can find the books and chapters for each section.  This, again, is helpful in learning to read, but it also shows an importance to God's word and the necessity of being respectful to the book of God.  Our children are really encouraged when they can find the passages on their own.  If the children can not follow along they are to sit with their hands folded on top of their Bibles on their laps.  This is a reminder to them to respect the word of God and reading time by not squirming, not speaking, and not playing around.  In church, if a child is being disruptive, I simply put a Bible or hymn book on their lap and they know it means to fold those hands and sit up quietly.  If a child needs to be dealt with during a church service, it is a reminder to us we need to be more attentive to training during family Bible reading.  It is always our goal to have our family sit together and worship together for the entire service and it is our prayer these practice times make their presence less of a distraction to those around us.

March 20, 2012

You Can Raise Children Without Whining ~ Reader Mail part 5

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent in the following question.  Because of the involvement and length of my reply, I have divided it into a series of posts over the course of seven days.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 


What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania


When dealing with whining it is best to begin as you want to go.  (Gary Ezzo uses this concept and I think it is something a parent should commit to heart and mind.)   There are many things to consider here, though.

1- Know the difference between whining, a crying child, and a baby that has a need which must be met.  A mother well in tune with her child should have no trouble recognizing the difference.

2-  Once the reason for whining is determined, you can move ahead.  As you mentioned, is it nap time?  Often an otherwise sweet child becomes whiny because she is tired and we have ignored the more subtle signs.  That does not excuse whining but is something to be aware of.  A tired child is not going to respond well to training.

My Carmella is a child who will whine when she gets tired.  If she lets out a whiny sound, we all look to the clock to see if it is nap time.  99% of the time, it is.  This will be easiest to notice if your child is on a good schedule.  In Carmella's case, we put her in bed and she instantly stops and closes her eyes.

Of course, you will be able to tell if you have a sleepy baby or a whining baby by evaluating the situation.  In Bella's case with the book, it sounds as if she was whining for what you had denied her.

Remember the rule, "A whining child needs a nap or training," consider and then act accordingly.

3- As soon as baby whines she should be denied what she is whining for.... to be picked up, a toy, papa etc...

4- While it is important to deal with whining by never rewarding it by giving what baby wants, it is also important to discipline negative behavior.  I like to say "No whining" and put my finger on baby's lips so she will come to understand what I am talking about is the action of her mouth.  A more firm reminder, such as a gentle thump on the mouth, may be necessary if baby has been allowed to develop the habit of whining.

5- There are times when baby whines because she has not yet learned to communicate what is going on in her head.  The majority of this kind of whining can be dealt with by teaching your child some very simple sign language.  I do not know how to sign, but our children all learned to sign before they spoke.  We learned and taught them words to express their needs and wants without whining.  The following list are good to add to your signing vocabulary.

Father
Mother
Please
Thank you
Yes
No
Hungry
Thirsty
More

We never took it much further than that.  By the time we had those down we found our little ones could use their words quite effectively to everyone's delight.  I do have a friend who signs and has taught her preschooler to sign quite proficiently.  She recommends "Baby Sign Time" which is available at our local library and on Amazon.  I have recommended this to other moms who rave about the how beneficial these videos are in teaching their little ones to communicate before they learn to speak.  A little added plus, studies show children who sign, have better language skills than their non signing counterparts.

Walk away from this post knowing three things.

1- You can raise children without whining
2- Begin as you intend to go
3-A Whining child either needs a nap or training

Carefully applied these three rules will bring only sweet music to your ears.

March 19, 2012

No Touch Training ~ Reader Mail Part 4

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question. The response is very long and involved so I have divided it into a series of post over the next seven days.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 


What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania 





No touch practice starts in our home as soon as baby is old enough to intentionally start reaching for anything.  This can be such a fun game.  The best time to practice no touch is when baby is sitting on your lap, such as at the dinner table or on the rocking chair during story time.  No touch is important for baby's safety, learning self-control and for everyone else's comfort.  You must be mindful during the training period.

It is good to remember what I call the rule of seven.  Many, many years ago when I was teaching a class on communication at the local community college, I came across this thought in a text book.  When a hurtful thing is said to someone, it takes seven pleasant things to reverse it.  This is a very simplified way of putting what took several chapters to explain, but bear with me while I illustrate.

If a child says something nasty to another child he must then think of seven kind things to say instead.  If we have offended someone by forgetting to follow through with a commitment, it takes 7 times of showing our dedication to following through to show the offended person our hearts are truly repentant and desires to do differently.

Now, I have found this applies well to parenting.  If you allow a child one time to touch something he should not, it will take seven successful training sessions to teach that we are not allowed to touch it.  Plain and simple.  Give it a whirl if you don't believe me.  I think if you start to observe your interaction with those around you, you will see the truth in this odd little tidbit.

This rule applies also to whining and really any negative behavior we may have allowed to be trained into our children.  Hopefully, you can therefore see the importance of being mindful during training time so as to not let the child develop a habit of touching.

If you are using dinner time as a training period, you might thus want to hold Bella on your lap while you give your full attention to being the trainer.  Papa will eat and then you will switch roles.  This way there will be no distraction to keep you from catching a training moment.  Let me stress the importance of this.  Not long ago, we were sitting at the table eating and visiting while Carmella was sitting on her Pa's lap.  We had company and no one was really paying attention to what baby was doing.  It was just a minute before a glass of water was dumped on the table.  Thank God it was not a plate of food or a hot beverage.  If done this way, training will not take long and soon you will be able to sit at any table with your darling and chat and eat and visit without worry of a drink ending up in your lap.

A training session should go something like this.  Put baby on your lap with your meal in front of you just as it would normally be.  (Sorry but you will have to have a cold dinner for a while or warm it over in the microwave... small price to pay).  Continue talking as you normally would but keep those eyes on baby's little hands.  In just a few seconds she will reach for a plate, place mat or something else she need not be touching.  Quickly, thump her little hand with your finger and say, "No touch" as normally as you can.  Baby will pull her hand away.  It is not likely she will even cry because this little thump does not hurt, but is just firm enough to get her attention.  She will again reach for the same thing.  Continue as before until she gives up and starts sucking on her fingers or playing with her hands or whatever.  Then hug up on her and kiss her and tell her what a good job she did to obey mama.  Try to keep talking so this is a normal part of the flow instead of a big deal baby must look for to obey.  Do not offer baby something else to appease her attention at this time.  You do not want her trained to be distracted but rather to choose to obey.

Note this example from story time this morning.  Carmella and I were rocking and reading books while I was having my morning coffee.  For obvious reasons, I did not want her to grab at my cup. She could have gotten burned and made a huge mess.  Nor, did I want my coffee to sit and get cold while we read.  She has the right to happily sit and listen to stories and I have the right to enjoy my coffee while we do so.

I used this for training time.  I put the cup right in front of her and had to wait only a few seconds before she reached for it.  BEFORE she touched it, I thumped her finger and said, "No touch" then continued singing "Jesus loves me" as if I had never stopped.  Less than five minutes of this and I was able to hold the cup right in front of her and she did not reach for it again.  I may need to repeat this cup training a few more times before it is solid but I know from experience in short time I could leave a hot cup of coffee sitting beside her and walk away and she will not touch it.  (For the record, I do not recommend doing that.)

I like to use this kind of training with eye glasses, cell phones, the oven, power cords and place settings at the dinner table.  Keep your eyes peeled for other things that baby encounters often but should not touch.  Once baby can pull up, it is good to do "no touch" training on the coffee table, book shelves, end tables etc... in your house.

With my boys I found it helpful to find a quiet corner in the store and sit on the floor in the aisle for a few minutes placing the toddler on my lap in front of the shelf for a few minutes of no touch training.  Boys need more help with no touch.  That's just how they seem to be made.  They also seem to have a harder time taking training from one situation to another, so this in store training was a great reminder that what we do at home continues with us when we are out and about.

Likewise, I found it helpful to have several training exercise in different homes of friends so that they understood this no touch rule is universal.  You will be so glad when you go visiting and can sit and happily chat without the worry of baby getting into mischief, causing damage or getting hurt.


March 18, 2012

Come to Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.


Sunday March 18, 2012
10:30 AM
5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

March 17, 2012

When Shopping With Children~Reader Mail Part 3

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question. The response is very long and involved so I have divided it into a series of posts over the next seven days.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? 


I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 


What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania 



As we continue our discussion on when and how to train our children, let us examine some of the tragic errors in the example presented by Tania.

#1 Mother told child to come but did not intend to make him obey her.
#2 Then she tells him he can not have the candy, which we see later, she gives him.
#3 She says she will not get out her wallet, but does so anyway.

Anyone, including Junior, knows this mother does not mean what she says.   Mother has successfully trained the child to ignore her commands, run away in the store, and whine until she gives in to his selfish desires.

What should have happened?  Mother should have rewarded this child justly.

First, for running away to the candy.
Second, for whining.
Third, for the temper tantrum.

If each issue is dealt with immediately, it would not escalate to the full blown temper tantrum.  Likewise, if he did not know he would get what he wants by throwing a temper tantrum, he wouldn't have thrown one to begin with.

There are several ways to deal with this sort of child.

1- Practice how to behave in a store before we go to the store.  My children were always required to do one of the following when in public places.

A-hold my hand
B- hold another child's hand
C- keep a hand on the buggy
D- or on my purse strap
E- hold on to my skirt.    

This is not just for my ease while shopping, but also for my child's safety and the comfort of other shoppers.  Have you ever had an unruly child run out in front of you while shopping or knock something off the shelf onto your toes?

2- No touch practice.  We practice "no touch" in many situations at home.  Story time and meal time are excellent times to train in "No touch."  And the steadfast rule is we are not allowed to touch anything in a store or someone else's home without permission.  End of story.  When they are toddlers a gentle reprimand during training will be certain this rule is followed always.  (I will go more into this type of training in a later post.)

3- We have already discussed the importance of asking properly and accepting the answer given above.

4- Lastly, we must address the whining issue.  Whining is never rewarded.  Ever.  Training in whining should begin as soon as it starts, between six and nine months.  Then whining will never be an issue for you and your child.  (I will talk more about this in a later post).

Let's get down to how a parent can deal with this specific example.

Once this child began whining, mother should have removed the child to her vehicle immediately for a time of training.  Once, the child is clear as to the proper response to "no" they should have returned to the store.  The child should have been instructed to ask for the candy.  Mother then responds "no" and the child gives the proper response.  If he does not, they return to the car and back to the store until he gets it right.  This kind of training is not convenient and will surely take time.  However, it will pay off with great rewards and  it will help us, as mothers, remember the rule it is best to train the right way from the beginning than to retrain once bad habits have been established.

March 16, 2012

How to Make a Request~Reader Mail Part 2

Reader Tania at In the Dovecote sent the following question.  The response is very long and involved so I have divided it into a series of post over the next few days.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? 


I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 


What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania 


Hello, again.  As we continue our discussion on when and how to begin child training, let's again review the situation described in Tania's letter above.  There are so many important training factors to consider in this situation.

Training your children on the proper way to make a request

A sweet please, not whining and not begging, and a clearly stated request is the only acceptable way to ask anything of anyone. End of story.  Beyond the training period there are no second chances.  If a child does not ask right the first time they will receive a no.  "Mama, may I please have a piece of candy?"  That is the way it must sound.  If the child fails to ask this way, Mother may respond by saying, "No, you did not ask properly."  Mother should then demonstrate the way she would like the request to be stated and end the discussion with an encouraging hug and, "Next time be sure to ask properly so I can consider saying, 'Yes.' "

Be careful to consider the request before responding

As moms we can get busy and distracted and respond before we have really weighed the question. Many times we say "no" when "yes" would have been acceptable or "yes" when really "no" should have been the answer simply because we don't stop to consider the question. There are so many times I must say, "no".  I like to look for opportunities when I can say "yes".  It is nice to be the fun guy once in a while.  Let's save "no" for when it is truly necessary.  

It is important, except under extreme situations, not to make a habit of changing our answer once given.  It confuses our children and gets them into the habit of thinking if they persist we will give a different answer.  This can inadvertently set them up for whining and begging.  Both bad habits we don't want to train into our children.  

I don't mean to say we should be permissive. Not at all. Consider this example. Sammy has asked for a piece of candy. Now, as a general rule, we do not allow our children to eat candy. It just isn't good for them.  We also have a lot of allergies and kids wearing braces.   Therefore, typically, the answer would be "no".   Now, if I don't stop to think about the situation I would just spit out "no" and go on. However, perhaps, Sam hasn't had a treat in a long while and he has been particularly helpful with my errands that day. None of the children wearing braces are along on this trip and the treat he asked for does not have chocolate or nuts in it so we needn't worry about his allergies. Why not say "yes" this once, reward him for asking politely and feel like a hero when I hear his sweet, "Thank you, Mama!"

Likewise, sometimes we say "yes" automatically when the answer should have been "no" or we should have gotten some more information before answering.  Consider this.  Before I took him to town, Samuel went to the bank with Pa.  I must ask another question.  "Samuel, did you have a lollipop at the bank today?"  Samuel would say, "Yes, he did."  And then I would reply, "That is probably enough treats for today, then."  Samuel, will then politely say, "You are right, Mama.  Thank you for thinking about it."  We go on about our shopping.

Now, I think practice is so important here.  Role play this through at home.  Then when you get to the store your child will already know what to expect.  This application is useful for just about any situation in which your child will make a request of you.


A child must be taught the right way to respond 

Again, role playing is so useful here.  A child must be taught to accept "no" as cheerfully as he accepts "yes".

I like to do something like this.  Have a handful of treats, say jelly beans.  Have the child request one using the acceptable way to make a request.  "Mama, may I please have a jelly bean."  First, Mama responds with, "Yes, thank you for asking the proper way."  Give child a jelly bean.  Child will respond with the proper, "Thank you, Mama."  And while she eats it up you will discuss how the Bible tells us sweet words are like an honeycomb.  And when we ask properly we receive a reward.  I like to include some discussion about the immediate reward, a jelly bean.  And long lasting rewards, knowing how to treat people right and being known as one with a sweet spirit.  And the eternal rewards, "If we ask Jesus for a request that is in His will, He will give it to us."

Next, is to teach the proper response to "No".  This time let the child know you will respond "No" and what response you will expect.  "Thank you for your consideration, Mama."  or "Thank you for thinking about it."  or whatever response you would like to hear from your child to acknowledge that she is cheerfully accepting your answer.  Make sure the child repeats the response to you before you begin so you are certain she knows the proper response.

Then have her again make the proper request.  You respond, "No" or "Not right now"  or some other simple negative response.  It is important not to give an explanation at this time because you do not want to train your child to believe they should expect an explanation from you.  Your "no" should be all they need to hear.  At this time, if the child does not respond offer a gentle reminder by whispering the practiced response in her ear and asking her to repeat it.  Do this over and over until the child firmly has it down.

At the end of these sessions, I like to reward the child with a jelly bean for their obedience and well learned response.

Now, let's look at the example you gave and see how the situation could have played out differently.

#1 If this child had practiced previously, this would have been a non issue.

#2 If the  mother made a habit of saying what she meant and meaning what she said, it would have also been a non-issue.  However, that is clearly not the case.

March 15, 2012

When to Start Training~Reader Mail Part 1

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question.  The response is very long and involved so I have divided it into a series of post over the next seven days.

"On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? 


I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 


Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 


My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 


What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 


Hugs, 


Tania 


Dear Tania,

The short answer is this.  Whether you do it intentionally or by your lack of purpose, your child is being trained from the moment she is born.  Everything you do and everything your child observes and every response you give to your child is training her, for better or worse.  It is far better to decide what you want from your child and who you want her to be, and then set on a path to develop it from day one.

In raising my children, I have found what is trained by age two or three (in the realm of obedience, respect and right responses) is what you will have until your child is grown.  Not that you can't start later, but it is a lot harder and your child will have to fight that sin nature the rest of their life.  You are right to want to nip your Bella's whining in the bud immediately.  The longer such a behavior continues the more of a bad habit it becomes and the harder it will be to break later.

Dealing with your child's bad behavior immediately is an act of kindness and mercy, not a sign of harshness or intolerance or stifling to their development, as some would have you to believe.  What can be squelched with a simple reminder at 9 months old will require a long drawn out fit and training session to undo later.  (Note the preschooler in the market.)  Furthermore, once a child knows the right way to behave and the right way to respond, he can enjoy the freedom of exploring his world around him in safety and abandon without infringing on the rights of the rest of the world.  It is a win-win situation if there ever was one.

I so love this question! Because I see situations like this all the time.  I drive my family nuts because I won't think twice before saying to the mom, "You aren't going to let him have it are you?" Or sometimes I will direct my comment, in an intentionally loud "whisper" to whichever of my family members might be standing nearby... but really speaking to the mom, of course.  "She should take that child out of here and not let him have anything." or "Well, if she hadn't given in to him in the past he wouldn't be throwing a fit now."

You are so absolutely right! No matter what, that child should have been removed from the store and not gotten what he wanted. And on the second count you are also right. The child threw the fit because he had success with getting his way by throwing a fit in the past.

I can, with absolute certainty, say my children never throw fits for me. And why? Because they know it won't work. Likewise to whining, begging or pouting. They know that anything besides asking politely and accepting "no" as sweetly as they would accept "yes" will not only fail to be met with reward but will instead be greeted with punishment.  End of story.

This was not always the case.  With our Kaitlin I had no idea how to train a child.  I lived on the advice of pop culture and others who had no idea how to train a child according to God's word.  And it showed.  While she was a smart, articulate, creative and a personable child, if things did not go her way, Kaitlin was a terror and all the world knew it.  

After I gave my life to the Lord, I realized if He gave us instructions for everything else, there must be instructions for child rearing as well.  He indeed has included much for the parent who wishes to learn in the Bible.  The book of Proverbs alone is filled with useful information on this topic.

When we started attending our church we were blessed to be surrounded by many very large home school families.  I was impressed by the kind, thoughtful, and obedient spirit which surrounded many of these children.  I began asking questions, studying their families and seeking out resources to learn how it was God wanted my children to be raised.

Above all I was determined to not repeat the mistakes I had made with KK.  Despite what the world will tell you, well trained children are not a fluke, a stroke of luck or simply a blessing bestowed upon certain people and denied others.  It is the result of careful, diligent and dedicated hard work.

And it is something anyone can accomplish, if they will but apply themselves.  It is not for the weak  of heart.  So brace yourself, seek the Lord for strength and gear up for a fun ride.

Stop back tomorrow for the continuation of this series.


March 14, 2012

Pegged

Scott Adams has got the Wachters pegged on this one.  We've even been known to have the neighbor's to do list on our white board.  Don't believe me?  Read about it over here.    

 Anyone else addicted to the white board?  I find people can't resist it.  Just about everyone who comes to our house has to give in and put something there.  What would you scribble on the Wachters' board?

March 13, 2012

Duckies

The girls made this video last August when they were babysitting for girls' night.  Somehow, I keep thinking I need to get it up here and I keep forgetting.  Here it is at last.  Remember what I said about them having to much time on their hands?  Here's hoping you enjoy a few giggles this morning.


March 12, 2012

Angel

The kids spent last Saturday making this video.  I laughed and got a little teary when they previewed it for us last night.  I keep telling them, they have way too  much free time on their hands.  ☺  Enjoy!


March 11, 2012

Come To Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.


Sunday March 11, 2012
10:30 AM
5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

March 10, 2012

Mexican Hotdish

I found this recipe in a Joanne Fluke novel a number of years ago.  We love Mexican food and this quickly became one of our regulars.  When I took it to fellowship last Sunday I got many requests for it.  I figured if I was writing it up anyway, I might as well put it here.

4 ounces green chilies
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded jack cheese
28 ounces diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 ounces olives, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cups uncooked rice (see notes between *)
2 packages taco seasoning (or substitute home made taco seasoning)
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or substitute beans if you want to make this a vegetarian dish
14.5 ounces broth or stock
1/2 cup butter
Fritos
2 cups (8 ounces) Mexican cheese blend
jalapenos, hot sauce and sour cream for garnish

Spray a 6 quart pan.  Mix all ingredients in pan except butter, Fritos, Mexican cheese and garnish.  Cut butter into cubes and dot over top.  Cover with heavy duty foil or two layers of regular foil.  The recipe calls for cooking it in the oven for 90 minutes. * I substitute brown rice for the white rice* and I find it takes about 3 hours in the oven instead.

When all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, remove foil and sprinkle with Fritos and then the Mexican cheese.  Return to oven until cheese is melted.

We pass jalapenos, hot sauce and sour cream at the table.

On Sunday I needed a way to keep it warm until the fellowship following the evening service so I made it in the crock-pot.  I was worried about how it would come out and I was going to be away at church all morning and unable to keep an eye on it.  *I decided to substitute instant rice for the brown rice to be sure it would cook in time and because I wasn't sure if it would require more liquid.*  It worked just fine.  I let it cook on high for about two hours while we were dressing for church and then turned it down to low and let it cook for another five hours or so.  On a day when I can be home to keep an eye on it, I want to do it in the crock pot again using the brown rice and see how long it takes and how much additional liquid is needed.  Brown rice is so much more nutritious and we much prefer the flavor to white rice. I carried the cheese and Fritos with me and when we got to church I removed the lid sprinkle the cheese on top, covered it with Fritos and let it simmer without the lid until the meeting was over.  That was about two hours.  It probably wouldn't require that much time, especially if you sprinkled the cheese on, put the lid back on for a few minutes and then added the Fritos just before serving.  I needed to have it completely ready to go at the end of the preaching and this worked just great.  I had extra Fritos on the side for the bottom of the pot.

Taco Seasoning

I got this recipe in a cooking class years ago.  I think it is more flavorful than the packets you buy in the grocery store.  I like it because I can control the salt.  Those envelopes seem to be mostly sodium.  It is definitely cheaper than buying the premixed stuff and it takes just a minute to make.  I like to make a large batch and keep it in a spice container from Sam's club.  We like spicy food so I go a little heavier with the warmer spices.  You can certainly adjust to your family's taste.  I omit the salt all together.  We don't miss it at all.  This is great for all kinds of dishes... soups, casseroles and of course anything Mexican.  Use your imagination. The recipe is the equivalent of one package of taco seasoning which is enough to season 1 pound of meat or beans.  If you make a large batch simply use 5 tablespoons to equal one package of taco seasoning.  Use more or less to suit your taste.

For one batch:

2 teaspoons dry minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano

Mix all ingredients well.

For  a large batch:
10 Tablespoons dry minced onion
5 Tablespoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons cumin
5 T. chili powder
2 1/2 Tablespoons red pepper
1 Tablespoon oregano

March 9, 2012

Romans 14:19

All my life, it has been my desire to make the lives of those I encounter a little brighter.  That's who I am. When I meet a person I put on my biggest smile and hope they will be smiling wider when we part.  This is what we are commanded to do as Christians.  To be the light.  Truthfully, it is a self serving practice, too.  When I brighten someone's day, it makes me feel good.  It makes my heart more joyful and, no matter how dark my day has been, it seems a little brighter, if I have brought some happiness to someone else.

That's who I am.

As a child of God, I do not understand a lot of what happens in this world.  But, I know that it is the way of the world under the influence of Satan.  That's just what it is.

But what I understand even less, are Christians who strive to tear each other down, cause trouble and bring heartache to other people.

I mean really, what do you have to gain by saying something just to stir up trouble, make an argument or hurt someone else?

When I was growing up, I tended to shy away from relationships with girls because this seems to be a trait more prevalent in women.  As a an adult woman, what surprised me was seeing there are people who call themselves Christians and yet behave in this same way as the lost.

My grandmother always said if you didn't have something nice to say then don't say anything.  To some degree there was truth in that.  But I don't whole heartily agree with that statement.

Because there are times when, as Christians, parents, mothers wives and friends, we must say things that aren't very nice to say.  We are, in fact, commanded to do so when we see someone walking in contrast to the word of God.  I am not talking about picking a fight over some preference or nit picky thing.  I mean when you know of someone who is doing something detrimental to their walk or testimony.  I am talking about when someone asks for advice and you have to give an answer they won't like because it is what the word of God says.

This happens to me quite often.  People talk to me.  That is a job the Lord has given to me.  People share their hearts and ask for advice and seek answers to questions.  Rarely does a day pass that someone doesn't email or text or call or pull me aside to confide in me or ask counsel on one topic or another.

Some days, I don't really like this responsibility.  I take everything to heart and feel the pain of those who speak with me.  I mull it over and pray about it as earnestly as if it were my own issue.  That's who I am.  That's how the Lord made me.  So, while some days it seems overwhelming, mostly I am grateful for this place the Lord has given me.

But unfortunately, that means I must often say things that aren't nice.  In fact, the Bible tells us we must do so, therefor it would be a sin to not speak up when the Lord has commanded.  But you know it is often the messenger who is killed.  Most of the time people are grateful that I will speak the truth to them and I am blessed when I do by seeing lives changed by Him.  However, the idea that I must be responsible for saying something that might bring someone pain, makes my heart ache.  The old parenting cliche, "This is going to hurt me more than you," really applies here.  I truly have become physically ill at the idea of speaking when I know the message will not be received well.  Yet, in obedience, I ask the Lord for strength and for Him to put the words in my mouth.

So, I am left to wonder, why do people say things just to be nasty?  Why do people say things just to pick a fight?  What kind of person gets pleasure from saying or doing something just to hurt another person?  And I am not talking about the world here.  Sadly, I see Christians who seem to delight in swinging out at people just as much as the world does.  I am speaking to my Christian sisters here.

Do you think before you speak?  Do you ever wonder if what you are saying is in any way edifying or exhorting someone or bringing glory to the Lord Jesus?  Or are you just speaking to your own means?  To prove you are right? Or, worse yet, to prove someone else is wrong?

Oh, I have seen this done in many ways.  Sometimes in outright spite.  Sometimes more subtly.  But the worst is the Christian that does it supposedly in the name of righteousness and then throws around a lot of scripture to try and justify their actions.

When my children do something they know will hurt someone or speaks in an unkind way or does something they know will start a fight I remind them that it is Satan who drives their motivation.  When we bring discouragement to another person simply for our own benefit Satan is doing his dance of joy.  And when that person is a Christian he is even more pleased.  What could be greater than two Christians being taken out of service, one by their desire to do wrong and the other because of the heartache it inflicts on them?  The Lord said it this way when Peter was more concerned about his will than the will of God,
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind meSatan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.  Matthew 16:23
Who is it you want to serve with your words and actions?

As a lost girl, I couldn't understand this sort of behavior from other children and as a grown woman I understand it even less.  In my experience, this kind of action is often rooted in jealousy, anger, conviction or guilt.  All selfish, self-centered and self-serving attitudes.

Dear Christian, it is time to put aside your bitterness and turn your eyes to Jesus, the work He has put us here for and the needs in the world that have to be met.

Every day there husbands beating their wives.  Children being molested.  Men losing their jobs.  Families going hungry.  People hurting.  Lives falling apart.  If that doesn't convince you to put aside your own petty will and do something, how about this?

While you are sitting there thinking of ways to hurt others, people are dying and going to hell!

Get over it!  Get off it!  Get on with it!

There is something more important than you, your preferences and your little wants, likes and dislikes.  
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."  Romans 14:19
Our family has always worked, as a unit and as individuals to live our lives in every way possible to exhort and edify others.  We strive to make our home a place of encouragement and refreshment for those who live here and those who enter here.  For those who may be confused over those terms, the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary defines them in the following way.
Edify:  To instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally,and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.
Exhort:  1. To incite by words or advice; to animate or urge by arguments to a good deed or to any laudable conduct or course of action.  2. To advise; to warn; to caution.  3. To incite or stimulate to exertion.
We truly try, in every step, word and deed to do only what will bring glory and honor the the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our words and actions may not always be taken in such a way, but they are always intended as so.

And, that belief extends to this blog.  I have always worked to say things, even if they were things hard to hear, in the most loving way and with the readers greatest interest in mind and heart.  When I say things that may not be pleasing, I pray about it and I ask the Lord to give me His words.  And I make it a point NEVER in my life to say something that may upset someone unless it is prayerfully considered, and will improve the life and/or spiritual walk of the reader.

Sadly, I do not always receive the same courtesy.  Someone our family knows has waged war on our family for more than a year now.  This person calls herself a Christian and calls herself our friend.  We have, at her request, not made contact with her, although she continues to stalk us with hateful letters and emails.  It even has gone so far as receiving hateful correspondence from one of her children.  Quite frankly, we have been beside ourselves as to how we should deal with it.  We prayerfully considered it and felt the best way was to ignore it and she would eventually realize there was nothing to be had by it.  Letters were thrown away and emails were deleted.

Then last week she came to this blog and began leaving argumentative comments.  That same old sick feeling hit me.  We know this person is not well.  No person in their right mind would behave this way. Yet, it is a difficult thing to constantly be attacked, especially on your own turf.  Especially, when you are trying to do the will of the Lord.  Especially, when I give so much of myself to this blog, not for  me, but for the exhortation and edification of the 2 or 3 hundred people who stop here each day.

Especially, when this blog has become a place where people are giving themselves over to the Lord.  Lives are being changed.  Families are being strengthened.  Marriages are growing.  People are walking closer with the Lord.  That is something I have asked the Lord time and again to use my life for.  And this is the venue He has chosen to do it in.

I was hurt.  My family was again hurt.  And we were a little scared.  What will stop a person who goes to such lengths to hurt someone else?  And why Lord?  For some time the Lord has been leading me to a new ministry and I had, just days before, surrendered my heart to it.  Allen and I have also been praying over another ministry we feel called to.  Why then Lord would you allow us to be kicked down?

But then it came back to me more clearly than ever.
Get thee behind meSatan!
This is Satan trying to discourage us and distract us and keep us from focusing on what God has in store for us.  Have you ever noticed the people who are the most miserable must work to make others miserable?  That, too, is the work of Satan.

I quickly asked the Lord, what is it you want me to do?  How do I deal with this one more time?  The very next morning I woke up and sat down to do my Bible study.  My text came from Ohio with the memory verse for the day.  Romans 14:19.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Okay, Lord.   I see your point.  I will continue to live my life speaking the words and carrying out the actions that edify and exhort the lost, the brethren and my Savoir.  

You might have noticed that I have turned on comment moderation.  I will not allow Satan to distract from God's work here by creating a battle ground.  I love to hear what you say, even when it may not agree with my opinion.  However, comments left with the intent of  being ugly or argumentative will instantly be deleted.  End of story.  This is a place to build up, not tear down.  This is a place to encourage not discourage.   This is a place for betterment no bitterness.  I hope you feel the same way.

But if you don't, we still have free choice and that includes the choice to not visit Art's Chili Pepper.

Prayerfully yours,

Kat