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October 26, 2010

Children and Their Innocense

With Halloween approaching there has been a lot of people blogging about Christians celebrating or not celebrating Halloween.
 There are many differents beliefs out there about this topic. And there have been many good articles and blog post out there related to Halloween. So instead of writing about it myself I am giving you a link of an excellent post that I read recently by a mom who shares why, as a family, they have chosen not to celebrate Halloween. Please take time to read this and really think through why you do or don't do anything to celebrate Halloween. But really what I want to blog about today is somewhat indirectly related to Halloween.

The Innocence of our Children.

I love the pure innocence of a child. You can see it in their eyes. So precious. So genuine. There is a reason that Jesus told us to become like a little child. Their faith is so real, their love is so gracious, and their heart is so pure. But I believe there is another reason that Jesus said to become as a little child, and that is because of their sweet innocence.
 Over the years I have come to appreciate more and more our children's innocence. Here is one example has come up over and over again. Our kids like to colour a lot. So I buy them colouring books. I always try to go through the books at the store and again at home and make sure that there is nothing "yucky" in them (anything from immodestly dressed children, to monsters, to aliens, to mermaids, to vampires, to jack-0-lanterns, to witches, people with guns, evolution, just plain ugly creatures....... ) When I find a picture that I feel does not honour God, I will rip it out. I've been doing that now for 20+ years. But once in awhile I will miss a picture. And when I do, one of our kids will come across it, and promptly bring the book to me and say, "Mom, this page is yucky." Now there have been times where I would have seen this picture before them and looked at it and said to myself, "Well, it's not really that bad." But more often than not, my child will notice it and bring it to my attention. So I have learned over the years to trust my first instinct and rip it out.

 I have often wondered why our children have this sense of what is good and what is ugly. Because some of these things they have never even seen, but their spirits pick up on the fact that something isn't right. I believe it is because of the innocence that God has placed in them. The sensitivity they have to what God loves and what He hates. It is something I have not been able to explain, or really understand. But I know it is there.

 Videos would be another example. When our children watch a video and I see them walk away or go and play instead of watch it I evaluate the content of the video. Sometimes the issue is that the child just wasn't old enough to differentiate between what is real life and what is on camera (e.g. sharks, whales, etc.) and it frightened them. But other times the videos seems OK to me, yet to my children something doesn't sit right,so why push it? Why desensitize the innocence that is in their little hearts. (side note: as I was writing this the kids were watching a nature video and it mentioned how an animal had evolved to adapt to it's climate. Guess what happened? Our son marched to the VCR, took out the video and brought it to me saying why the content was not good. The video is now in the garbage! This same son brought a Bible story book to me the other day saying that the author added things to the story that aren't in the Bible. We then decided these books will go in the garbage.) It would be so easy to think, "I paid money for this. It's just a little bit of evil....." But I realize those excuses are really harmful to our family.
A little bit of evil and a lot of good, still makes it evil. It's not worth it just for the sake of entertainment. 

The other day I was in the grocery store and I heard a little boy and girl talking to their mom. They would have been around 4 and 5 years old or so. They little boy said, "This is so yucky.....we shouldn't shop here anymore." (referring to the halloween decorations). And the little girl said, "Ya, they shouldn't be allowed to put out such yucky things." At this point I was ready to hear the mom shush their children who were being so outspoken (and quite loudly so) about this situation. But my heart was warmed when I heard their mom say, "You're right, these are yucky things. I wish they wouldn't put them out either." She could have quieted her children or quickly changed the subject, but rather she acknowledged that what they were saying was truth instead of being embarrassed. I find this practice particularly awkward when we are visiting at other people's places. There have been times where my kids were reading a book at someone's home and bring it to me and say that the book is yucky. (and not quietly :) Just a little awkward! But I am so grateful as they do this. Of course as they grow older they learn of more tactful ways to address the situation :) in love.

 As a parent I want to be very careful that I don't minimize or belittle the fact that our children are concerned about the things that they see. You know the song....oh be careful little eyes what you see. They are being sensitive to the innocence that God has placed into their hearts and I don't want to destroy or crush that. I have also learned that just because books and videos are labled "Christian" they cannot all be trusted. In fact I have been appalled at some of the literature and video content that I have found in the Christian book stores and I wonder how anyone can justify some of their content? The argument has been given that it is good for kids to read about or see the struggle between good and evil because that is what life is about! Well, I believe that is a lie from the pit of hell. I have heard it said that the way they teach those that work in banks to know what counterfiet money is, is they make them study what real money is. They don't study the counterfeit, they study the real thing! Well that makes sense to me. So why not do the same with our children. If we teach them the good and Godly side of things, they will be able to distinguish between good and evil. I believe Satan is really getting a foothold in these things all in the name of entertainment! And Christians are falling right into his trap. It's just sad....really sad. So I want to encourage you to protect the innocence of your children. Don't make light of things that they feel is wrong. Look at it through their eyes, not your eyes and flesh that may have been desensitized to what is good and evil. What an amazing opportunity we have to mentor these little ones are and what an amazing privelage and responsibility it is to raise them to bring glory and honor to God. Let's do our best encourage our children to love what God loves and hate what He hates. And in doing so we will raise a people that are passionate to follow God and seek His ways no matter what the cost!

You who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 97:10

October 25, 2010

It's That Time Again!

With the threat of colder weather in the forcast......even snow....yikes!!!
We have been busy the last week preparing for it.
Cleaning up the garden
Bringing in the carrots and potatoes
Getting wood to heat the house
Cleaning out the skating shack
Cleaning up all the flowers and pots
Taking the fish out of the pond and draining it
Cleaning out the garden shed
Putting away the bikes and toys
Taking down the trampoline
and today....
Bringing the cows home from the pastures.

We have 3 pastures. One is almost 8 miles from our house, one just a couple of miles and the other right in the back of our yard.
We have about 35 cows. We send them, their calves and the bulls out to the pasture in the spring when the grass starts to get nice and green and lush.
They stay out there all summer until this time of year when we bring them back home for the winter.
The 2 year old calves are in the pasture behind the yard. They too come onto the yard for the winter where we fatten them up until January or so when we sell them either to buyers or our neighbors and friends who want them for beef.

This year we decided to do things a little differently than the past few years.
We have a cattle trailer that we haul the cows back and forth to the pasture.
It takes a bit of time to load the gates, take all the gates off the trailer, set them up, pen up the cows, load them, haul them and then take down all the gates and put them back on the trailer and then set the gates back up at home.....whew, makes me tired just talking about it!

So this year we thought we would see how it would work to drive them home, meaning them walking and us driving in front of, behind them and beside them.
We all had a job.....
Megan and I had the very easy job (but don't tell anybody!) of sitting in the truck and stopping the cows from going down the wrong roads. Jennifer was leading the cows with a tractor that had a bale on it (kind of like the carrot in front of the horse :) Mark was on the 4 wheeler and Josh was in the half ton. They were the busiest of us all, keeping the cows on the right track. And Rebecca was behind the cows taking up the lead in their truck. Zachary, Nathan, Brooke and Mikaya were keeping Megan and I entertained. Caleb and Jesse were helped Josh hoop and hollar at the cows to keep them moving. Kerri was at home cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and babysitting. Joey, Andy and Jaden were concentrating on being good little boys for their sister/auntie :) And then our sweet neighbor friends saw us sitting at the roadside waiting and asked if we needed help. So she blocked the road the other direction. Thanks Teresa and boys :)

Coming down the first leg of the journey
Second leg of the journey (Jen in front, Josh on the right and Mark on the left)

Good cows......just follow the bale!

And now we're going down the home stretch! Almost there!!!

Rebecca in the back

You can see Josh and Rebecca's house in the distance

So how did it go you ask?
Well I think it was pretty easy....really....I just sat there....visited....listened to music....
But if you would ask Mark.....well let's just say he ended up splattered with mud and soaked from the rain and puddles! But he did say that maybe the cows would be better next year since they would know the way?
And Josh???? Well I didn't ask him, but secretly I think he enjoyed spinning around with the truck up and down ditches, over bumps and through the fields!!!! But don't tell him I said that cause he wouldn't actually admit to likin' chasing cows :)

Jen had a pretty good time too. She was glad she was in the tractor watching the action instead of having to keep the cows in line.
So maybe...just maybe we will do it again next year :)

October 21, 2010

Can you guess who this is??

Comment and let us know who you think this is and then come back tomorrow to see if you were right!!

October 16, 2010

Secret Saturday

Can you guess what this is?
Comment and tell us what you think.
Then come back on Monday and see the whole picture!

October 13, 2010

Menu Plan Week 3

Week 3 down on the menu plan.

Here's our opinion.

6 layer lasagna was pretty yummy. One mistake we made was not putting enough sauce in the hamburger so it was a little dry. Also we used no cook lasagna noodles and they were a little tough around the edges. So next time I would use the kind you cook and make sure that the hamburger mix and cheese is right to the edges. And I would add garlic bread to the menu.

Roasted Chicken is something we have all the time. The key was to make enough for Thursdays meal. Not much beats a good homemade chicken, potatoes, gravy and salad.

The Cream of Celery soup was okay, but it needed something. Not sure what, just something. So we decided we will stick with Cream of Carrot Soup instead. We'll just through some celery in there too! The Cordon Bleu Bread was not worth the effort. We would rather have Duggar Rolls or Italian Cheese Bread.

Baked Chicken Casserole was another one that reminded us of a recipe that we prefer. Chicken Roni Casserole. You could use any can of cream soup instead of mushroom soup if you would rather.

We never got to the Mashed Potato Casserole because we had company and didn't want to try out a new recipe on them :) So we had pizza instead with this healthy crust. No one was complaining!!!!

So not sure that this week was this successful in finding new recipes. Thankfully we can fall back on our tried and true recipes!

Here's week 4's menu plan.

Monday: Taco Bake, Lettuce Salad
Tuesday: Oven Baked Steak, Chinese Style Baked Potatoes, Oriental Salad
Wednesday: Cream of Carrot Soup, Biscuits
Thursday: Beef Italian, Salad
Friday: Hamburgers, Texas Potatoes, Raw Veggies

October 12, 2010

Too Many Choices

Over the years, one of the biggest mistakes we have seen parents make comes in the form of choices. Parents come to us and say, "Our child just is not obeying us. Where are we going wrong?" One of the issues more often than not is that the parents are allowing their child too many choices.

As many of you know we have taught the "Along the Virtuous Way" (Previously titled Growing Kids God's Way) parenting classes many times over the last 14 years. Much of what I will talk about today is credited to what we have learned in this course.

Today the mindset in parents seems to be that it is unfair or even mean not to give our children choices. We hear it everywhere. In the restaurant, in the grocery store, in the mall.....We think it's cute when they old enough to talk and are able to express their own choice,

Too many choices....do you want to wear the blue or green shirt, do you want pony tails or braids, do you want peanut butter or jam, apple juice or orange juice, white bread or brown, in quarters or halves, yellow cup or blue.....and on and on! Choice after choice is made by the child even before breakfast is even done! Then you sit down with your child and have a nice snuggly time of reading. Do you want to read this book or that one? Then it's playtime, "Do you want to play cars and trucks or lego? Now it's time for lunch and you say to your child, "Time to clean up your toys, it's time for lunch." And the child says, "No, I want to finish playing first, I will have lunch later." But you know your child needs to eat for his well being and your sanity, so you push the issue.....and what ensues? A battle, a big battle! And you stand back and think, where did this all start? Things were going so smoothly. 

Well really this all started when you gave your child the choice of what to wear, the choice of what to eat, the choice of what color of cup, the choice of what to read, the choice of what to play with, the  choice of whether or not to eat lunch....oh wait, you made that choice, didn't you? And that's where the battle began. Do you see the problem here? Up until now your child has been deciding what he would like and not like to do all morning, and he has been able to do them without any resistance from you. And then all of a sudden you come and mess up his little world, or so he thinks. 

Choices in and of themselves are not bad. We let our children make choices every day. But the younger the child, the less choices they have. For instance our 5 year old can pick out her own clothes, but not our 3 year old. Our 5 year old can pick what she wants on her toast, but not our 3 year old. Why you ask. Because our 3 year old cannot handle the power that comes with decision making yet. 

The Bible says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. At this age children do not make their decisions based on moral reasoning or wisdom. Rather they make it out of the foolishness of their little hearts. They don't think, "Ok, it's 0 Celsius outside, I really should not wear shorts today because I might get very cold." Rather they think this way, "TodayI will wear my purple shorts and t-shirt today because I like the color purple. And I will go outside in my flip flops because they are so pretty." Not much wisdom in that is there? Yet we allow these children to make these decisions all the while thinking we are being such a good parents. And people applaud parents for this, thinking it is so nice of us to give choices to our children and not give require certain things. Because really, it's harmless right? How bad can it be to give our children a few choices?

Here's what has happened in our experience. Let's take our 3 year old right now. She likes to pick her own clothes, she likes to choose what she wants to eat, she likes to choose whether to wear boots, flip flops, shoes or cowboy boots outside.....and so on. But we make many of these choices for her. Why? Because if we don't, we see this. She decides to go into her big sisters rooms and go through their jewellery and wear some of it. She decides to go into the closet where the school books are and write in whatever one she finds. She decided to put toothpaste on her toothbrush and brush her teeth. She decides to take a vitamin whenever she pleases throughout the day. She decides to cry and fuss when asked to clean up toys for lunch. She decides to go outside whenever she pleases. Do you see what's happening?  

Whenever I find that one of our children are having a hard time obeying the instructions that I give them I will evaluate if they are addicted to choice.

Here's what I would do for our 3 year old. I would say in the morning, "I want you to wear this." She will rarely fuss and cry about it (although I have had some that will) but she will come out with something else on. Addicted to choice! I will tell her "I want you to wear boots outside today." Do you know what she will do? Sometime pout or cry, but usually she will wear something else on her feet.....or my favourite....one boot and one sandal :) 

Our child is addicted to choice. So what do we do? Take away the choice. Not forever, just for a time. Until we think that our child will be able to handle making the choice. And there may be times in this that I will allow her to pick out her own clothes, or footwear. But at any time I should be able to take away this choice and not see it become an issue. 

As I said our 5 year old is allowed to make these choices. Why? Because if she comes out in shorts and a t-shirt one day and I ask her to change because it is too cool out, what will she do? She will go and change. She can handle not having a choice in the matter. She can handle me making the choice for her.

Now I have only talked about a 3 and a 5 year old here, but really this principle starts younger or carries on older than just these ages. As our children get older and more mature we give allow them to make more choices. As they get older and show wisdom and maturity we let them handle some choices. But there are still choices we don't allow them to make. We don't allow our almost 12 year old to drive the ATV whenever he would like, but we allow our 15 year old to. Why the difference? Age, maturity and wisdom. For families with children that are close to the same ages it very typically happens that we give our children too many choices just because the older one has them and we treat them equally. We have been guilty of this. This is not a healthy thing for the younger child. We need to be constantly aware of this. 

I could go on and on....but I hope you get the picture of how important it is not to allow your child to have too many choices before they are ready. If you are wondering if this is an issue with your child, take some choices away. See how they react. Do they flip out when they can't choose the color of their cup? Do they refuse to eat when you don't give them their choice of food? Do they fall on the floor if you don't cut their bread a certain way? Do they cause a scene at the restaurant when you pick off the menu for them? Do they wear something different than what you have laid out for them? Then they probably are addicted to choice.

We are seeing that our 3 year old is getting very close to being able to make her own choices in some areas. Take her clothing for  example. When we forget to lay something out for her she will come to us and ask us to pick her clothes. This shows that she is okay with us making the choice. Look for these signs in your parenting. They show that your child may be ready to make choices in a certain area. But if you find your child is having "issues" in certain areas, test if they are addicted to choice. Make the choice for them, see how they react, maybe they weren't ready after all.

I will say that it is much easier to carefully think through the choices you allow your child the freedom to make. It is much easier not to give them the choice than to take away the choice. Reparenting is never fun! 

So I challenge you to do the "addicted to choice" test. How did your child do? Are they addicted to choice? Or are they just fine with allowing you to have you make the choice for them? If you take away the choice at any given time, are they OK with it? If you find that you and your child seem to be going head to head all day, this may just be part of the problem. I am not saying it will charge everything, but it surely will help!

 Foolishness is bound up
 in the heart of a child. 
Proverbs 22:15b

October 11, 2010


Today is Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for. For my amazing husband, our 12 wonderful children, a beautiful daughter-in-law, a precious grandson, amazing friends, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, good health......I could go on and on!!!!! But all of this is nothing compared to the wonderful God that I serve! Without Him my life would be meaningless. Thank you God for WHO YOU ARE! I love you!


God "mighty, strong, prominent" (Genesis 7:1; Isaiah 9:6) – Etymologically, El appears to mean power, as in “I have the power to harm you” (Genesis 31:29). El is associated with other qualities, such as integrity (Numbers 23:19), jealousy (Deuteronomy 5:9), and compassion (Nehemiah 9:31), but the root idea of might remains.


God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:33) – The plural form of Eloah, which is accommodating of the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1:1).


“God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) – Speaks to God’s ultimate power over all.ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2; Judges 6:15) – Used in place of YHWH, which was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with the Gentiles.


“LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – Strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).


"The Lord will Provide" (Genesis 22:14) – The name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.


"The Lord Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by preserving from diseases, and by curing them when afflicted with them and in soul, by pardoning their iniquities.


"The Lord Our Banner" (Exodus 17:15), where banner is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17.


"The Lord Who Sanctifies, Makes Holy" (Leviticus 20:8; Ezekiel 37:28) – God makes it clear that He alone, not the law, could cleanse His people and make them holy.


"The Lord Our Peace" (Judges 6:24) – The name given by Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him.


"LORD God" (Genesis 2:4; Psalm 59:5) – Combination of God’s unique name YHWH and the generic “Lord,” signifying that He is the Lord of Lords.


"The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16) – As with YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).


"The Lord Our Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).


"The Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35) – The name ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once departed glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8—11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4).


"The Lord of Hosts" (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – “Hosts” means hordes, both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven, and of the inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that he is able to accomplish what he determines to do.

EL ELYONAlign Left

“Most High" (Deuteronomy 26:19) – Derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend,” so the implication is of that which is the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absolute right to lordship.


"God of Seeing" (Genesis 16:13) – The name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14), when she met the Angel of the Lord and realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all.


"Everlasting God" (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time and contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”


“Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) – The name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).

October 7, 2010

Menu Plan Week 3

So the second week of our menu plan is finished.
I don't think it was quite as successful as the first week.
But still we found some good recipes.

Chinese Chicken
Fried Rice Dish

Tolerable :)
Hamburger Soup. We would much rather this soup.

Would Eat only if Desperate!!!
Sausage Veggie Casserole. The sauce was pure barbecue sauce. Much too strong. But we like the idea of cooking the farmer sausage in the oven with barbecue sauce. Maybe next time we will try some different flavours.

We didn't get a chance to try out the No Fuss Stroganoff because we had too many left-overs to eat!!!

And that brings us to week 3. We are well on our way....here's what is in the plan.

6 Layer Lasagna, Coleslaw

Roasted Chicken (make 2 for Thursdays casserole dish), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cooked Carrots, Salad

Cream of Celery Soup, Cordon Bleu Bread

Baked Chicken Casserole, Corn, Salad

Mashed Potato Casserole, Raw Veggies

Check in next week to see what worked and what didn't!

October 4, 2010

You'd Think We Live in Texas!

Since fall is here, it is clean up time around the yard.
The other day we were cleaning up the garden.
When we got to the cucumbers we found this humongous one hiding under the plant.
Oops! I guess we missed this one!

Megan was drooling over how much relish she could make with a few of these :)
(To read about Megan and her obvious fondness of relish go HERE )

Nathan is the cucumber fanatic of the family so he had to bring it in and show it to everybody.

To prove to you just how big this cucumber was, we got our sweet little model to pose with it...

How's that for BIG?