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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Yeah. This video is a summary of truth.

 

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lynx2

Because you knew I was punny, right? I’ve decided to compile blog posts, articles, humor, and such ilk, into one weekly post: the Sunday Lynx. These are the things that I might not have a chance to blog about, but which I wanted to share with my readers.

12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture (Themelios). The title pretty much says it all. There’s also a great list of resources at the end detailing the application of the recommendation, if you finish reading it and find yourself convinced by one (or more) of those twelve reasons.

Moving on, there’s yet another excellent post from Matt Walsh, this time on motherhood and body image in today’s culture…

I don’t know why we’ve come up with this idea that women need to eradicate any hint of motherhood from their bodies after giving birth. If I inadvertently and unintentionally propagated this poisonous concept, then I’ve got my own jerkiness to atone for.

This is all part of the anti-child, anti-mother, anti-family, anti-life, anti-fertility obsession that plagues our culture like an infectious spiritual disease. The ancient pagans worshiped fertility, the modern pagans (of which there are millions in this nation) worship sterility. Mothers are pressured to look like they never had kids and never could have kids. Isn’t that why we’ve decided that women should keep up a gaunt and emaciated appearance? There’s nothing inherently beautiful about it, but it sends off a “look, I’d break in half if I tried carry a child” message. That’s what passes for “sexy” among creatures who have begun their proud march towards voluntary extinction.

Like the stars, like the chapel, like the mountains, motherhood is beautiful. Obviously I’m not going to pander to you and claim that every mother is physically beautiful, but I can certainly say that a woman who is a mother can often be extraordinarily beautiful, not in spite of her mother-ness, but, at least in part, because of it. You do not have to shed every hint of motherhood from your body. Why should you? It isn’t a mark of shame. It isn’t ugly. It’s beautiful.”
You don’t have to erase every trace of childbirth from your body (The Matt Walsh Blog)

Kindness Elves: An Alternative Elf on the Shelf (The Imagination Tree) is an intriguing tradition that I would like to try next Christmas (because starting involved traditions when you’re living in someone else’s house is a bit difficult); I’ve also heard of skipping the idea of an “elf” altogether and having a “Giving Angel.”

This situation just irked me, and I don’t even know where to begin.

For those of you who have been following Doug Phillips’ resignation from Vision Forum at all, there’s this post on the rejection of legalism:

Of course, the obvious lesson here and one that I needed to learn, or at least be reminded of, is never put your faith in man. I don’t think I put my ‘faith’ in Doug or the man I know personally. My faith has always been in the Lord and Him alone. Where I went wrong was allowing other men, evil men, to influence me and my ‘convictions’ with their legalism without testing their ‘rules’ against Scripture. I took the easy way out and unconsciously told myself they were more studied than I am so I should listen to them. I shouldn’t have believed what they told me just because I liked how it sounded. I should have believed it only because Scripture convicted me so. It’s been a hard bitter lesson.

Betrayal, reevaluation, and the rejection of legalism (Where the Kudzu Grows)

Then we have another post on motherhood (it’s not a theme in my life, really):

My faith waxes and wanes, but it is not faith I am lacking in this ongoing struggle.

We were created to live in community with one another.

What young mothers are truly lacking, is a culture centered around family.  Where families are not being ripped apart from every angle of society.  Where older women are there to teach and encourage the younger women in this extremely important vocation of wife and mother.  Where there are actually other women around to help one another out on the home front.  That follows the Biblical model of Titus 2.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands, so that the Word of God will not be reviled.”  Titus 2:3-5

But we, young mothers, are not living in that world.  Most of us do not have much help from family or from church family.  And it saddens me, angers me, it makes me want to scream at times.  That women and children have been left on the front lines of the home front with very little support.

But screaming never really does much good when you’re angry.  A gentle word is much more likely to turn away wrath.  A hug works wonders as well.

Many will say that this is merely “my fault” for having so many children.  This only shows the skewed mindset and love that has grown cold in man’s heart.  Man says children are “my fault”.  God says children are a blessing from Him (Psalm 127).

I want to hug every desperate housewife out there, and tell her that I am sorry.  I am sorry that we are truly fighting an uphill battle.  I am sorry that this is the way it is, that it is so hard for us.  I am sorry that our culture and in many ways, our own church, has forsaken the Truth, and the value of this most needed vocation of wife and mother.   May God have mercy on us all.

Desperate Housewives: No Laughing Matter – Why Young Mothers Don’t Need God, They Need Help

Mack Hill Farm spends some time ruminating On fats, ctk blog discusses Why Switchfoot Won’t Sing Christian Songs, and for a bit of humor, we have the Crappy Mohs Scale of Crunchy Mamas (Illustrated with Crappy Pictures).

That last one had me writhing. If you’ve ever been called “crunchy,” or have friends whom you would deem “crunchy,” it’s a must-read.

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There are those who question why a Protestant believer – for that matter, a Baptist! – would read the blogs of Catholic believers. I question myself on that point at times, but then I once again come across something particularly thought-provoking and I remember why. Just this morning, one such post spoke to me.

I wish I had known how important patience is, and how meaningless outside appearances are.

There is an awful lot of outside pressure to get things right the first time. From the secular world, “getting things right” may look like having a super duper body, and fireworks in the bedroom every night, and maybe having one or two perfectly timed children who nicely complement your career. From the religious world, “getting things right” may look like being visibly joyful all the time, and having a respectful, decorous flock of children who just lurve to pray and volunteer and do their chores. Either way, you’re supposed to be a catalogue-ready example of that lifestyle within six weeks, and hold that pose indefinitely. And this is nuts. Dangerously nuts.

On planning babies: Jen from seven years ago talks with Simcha Fisher

The above paragraphs summarize my struggle – as a woman, as a parent, as a Christian, as a writer, as a human – because it’s all fine, well and good to say I will not conform to the world’s view of me, but too often we are replacing that with conforming to other Christians’ view on how I should look, dress, act, raise my children, et cetera, instead of looking to God and His grace to cover us. Replacing secular man’s standards with religious man’s standards will result in guilt, shame, and stumbling, because whether it’s secular or religious, you’re still following the standards of fallen man.

So when I spend time mulling over the right educational choice for my child, that pressure pushes in on my peripheral vision. It’s one of the points that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post, because let’s face it: when I write a few paragraphs one day, add a bit the next day, and finally finish a post a few days later, the end result usually misses about half of what I intended when I first started. But, that’s what happens when you write around the needs of your littles. That’s what happens with life. All that to say, I didn’t even touch upon the topic of pressure from those around me regarding the choices for my child’s education.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I did mention the concept of grace at the end of my post, but I only touched on it. I didn’t dive deep. And you know what? This is one of those situations where I need to dive deep.

Because this isn’t about what my friends who educate at home think about me.

This isn’t about what my friends who educate via the public school system or a private school think about me.

This isn’t about what my family at church thinks about me, nor what my family by blood or marriage thinks about me.

In fact, it’s not about me at all.

I can do everything “right” when it comes to my child’s education, whether by secular or religious standards, and he still may take a different path. I can do everything “right” when it comes to my child’s health, whether by mainstream or alternative standards, and he might face chronic or acute health problems anyway. I can do everything “right” when it comes to the discipleship of my child, whether by Dobson’s, Pearl’s, Sears’, or Kimmel’s standards, but they still may walk away from family and from God.

It’s not about doing things right. It’s about trusting in His grace to cover the choices made, and acknowledging that ultimately, He is in control.

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For those of you that didn’t know, I was educated at home for the final two years of high school, and my husband was educated at home from kindergarten through graduation. You might guess that we’re proponents of home education, and your guess would be correct. I’ve been studying different curricula and educational philosophies since my own senior year of high school, and have intended to educate my (future) children at home since that time.

Now, it’s time for the rubber to meet the road, and I find myself conflicted. It’s not that my opinion of home education has changed; I’m still quite in favor of it.

I still think that in the long run, it provides the best opportunity for a quality education tailored to each child’s needs. That said, do I think that every child who goes through the public school system receives a poor education? No. Do I think that every child who has been educated at home has received a stellar education? No. I’ve seen both situations run the gamut; and yes, you can throw private education into the mix, too – I’ve seen it fall into both categories, as well.

So here’s my dilemma: my toddler will soon be aging out of his qualification for “early intervention” services in our state, a program that is run at a county level from birth to three years of age. With this program, babies and toddlers with developmental delays can receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, depending on the areas where they score low according to some standardized tests. This therapy is done “itinerantly,” within the support system of the child’s home (or wherever they spend their days, be that with a grandparent, a nanny, et cetera), at a frequency of one or two times per week.

Once they hit three years of age (or, actually, the even-more-arbitrary age of thirty-four months), they transition to a program run by the local school district rather than the county. If they continue to qualify, they may be recommended for a higher frequency of therapy visits during the week – or even for an integrated preschool classroom setting, where you’ll see a mixture of “typically-developing” children as well as children who are receiving therapies through the county’s program.

As of January, my son will be old enough for this program – and yes, he has received a recommendation from the evaluator that he enter the preschool classroom. Of course, as a parent, I have every right to say that we don’t want this service, and would rather receive his continued therapies within the comfort and familiarity of his own home. For that matter, if we wanted to, we could say that we didn’t want him to continue therapies at all, regardless of the testing and recommendations. We have that right.

You would think, with my background and affinity for home education, that I would say flat-out that he’s not going to a program run by our local school district, but that’s not taking into account a few things. First of all, the program is not run at the school – they farm it out to a local preschool / child care center. Not only that, but the very place where I was employed until I was six months pregnant with my firstborn. Furthermore, the special education teacher with whom I worked in my classroom is now the director of the program there. If there was going to be any place that I was comfortable sending my preschooler (and I nearly twitch as I type that, because in my mind, he’s still only two years old), it would be there.

After all, it would only be for two and a half hours per day. It would mean that he could receive his therapies in one consolidated location, versus having two different therapists in and out of our house multiple times during the week. And I try not to take into account the idea that it would give mama a small break, because ultimately, this isn’t about mama: it’s about the child. A “break” would be nice, sure, but I know there are plenty of mamas who educate special needs children at home, who have needs far greater than a speech delay and sensory processing difficulties.

If only those were the only considerations, though. But there’s something new that I have to take into account; something that didn’t exist when I worked there: Common Core. Oh, yes, that wonderful thing that’s causing all sorts of controversy at so many levels. Now, granted… I did Google to look up how Common Core guidelines affect things at a preschool program level in New York, and I couldn’t find anything that particularly rubbed me the wrong way. The only difference that I know of at this particular child care center is that instead of the teachers in each classroom setting up their lesson plans in conjunction with the curriculum that the center uses, they have one person in charge of lesson plans for ALL of the classrooms (to ensure that they meet Common Core guidelines), and from there, the teachers make changes to make the plans a better fit for the abilities and needs of the children in their particular classroom.

Well, while in theory that may free up the teachers from having to come up with entire lesson plans for each week, allowing them to better tailor those lessons for their pupils, in the long run, doesn’t it hobble them? They know their pupils better than the person who will be setting up the plans for all of the classrooms. Wouldn’t there be greater flexibility, and greater ability to meet those needs, if they don’t have to alter plans that are handed down to them, but are left to meet those needs organically?

You see, Common Core isn’t wrong because of the values it teaches. Common Core is wrong because it is an unconstitutional, federal usurpation of power. In fact, it’s not even directly from the federal government, but a private initiative from the Gates Foundation used by the federal government to coerce states. It is the very same “gun to the head” of the states that Chief Justice Roberts referred to in National Federation Of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Obamacare) with regard to the medicaid expansion coercion. Regardless, conservatives, libertarians, and moderates are all too in favor of such usurpation when it aligns with our values. This is not only wrong, it is extremely dangerous.

Conservatives Are Completely Wrong on Common Core (Ben Swann)

Ultimately, my qualm with Common Core at the preschool level is not with the values it teaches, but that yet again we’re seeing an edict “from on high” that is meant to ensure that every program is painted with the same broad brush strokes. Every child must meet specific milestones. Every child but learn specific things. Because after all, unless they’re reaching these government-provided checklists, how will they ever manage to be prepared for the workforce? That’s what this ultimately comes down to, isn’t it? The workforce? The economy? Feeding the consumptive beast rather than allowing for individuality, creativity, and walking off the beaten path?

Oh, I’m sorry; is my libertarian side showing?

And all that is without even delving into Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy when it comes to the preschool years, let alone what I’m going to discover as I read Better Late Than Early. Maybe it will turn my entire opinion on it’s head; I guess the only way to find out it to finish reading it. Oh, and then there’s the whole “how does our conviction about worshiping as a family affect our view of education” aspect.

(This is the part where you might just point out that I think to much. Or maybe you did that after the first two or three paragraphs, and I just didn’t hear you.)

I have time to figure this out, but it’s not unlimited. I meet with the school district to discuss all of this later this month.

Katie was right: parenting is hard stuff.

Ultimately, though, I have to remember what this all comes down to. It comes down to grace. I’m not going to sit here and quaver over whether or not sending my child to preschool is “God’s will,” or if I might be ruining him for life if I do so. That would be to live in fear, rather than taking my life verse to heart yet again.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

– II Timothy 1:7

It’s almost like there’s a reason that it’s my life verse. You know, because I keep needing to hear it. Over. And over. And over again.

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I’m currently working on a blog post regarding Common Core, home education, decisions within parenting, and more. It’s been a busy few days what with Thanksgiving, hunting, extended family, et cetera. In light of the fact that I don’t foresee myself finishing it before the beginning of the week, I’ll yet again share a few of the links that I’ve enjoyed over the past few days. Enjoy!

Christ works through His people. He doesn’t need our help. In fact, I imagine Him sometimes inconvenienced (and amused) by our messy fumblings as well. But He allows us — commands us — to come along side Him in His work, and we do so the best we can. So when I have to clean up a flooded kitchen floor because Claire has helped me scrub it, or when I can’t find my measuring spoons because Jacob volunteers to put away the dishes, I swallow down my impatience and instead see burgeoning Christ-followers who will someday understand that imperfect action is better than perfect inaction, that paint-stained hands can be an offering to Him. And, I hope, they will have the memory of their mother telling them, “Yes, my loves, you are so helpful.”

The Ministry of Inconvenience (Margaret McSweeney)

 

Hidden food allergies absolutely devastated my health.  I was 25 years old and I was so sick, I didn’t have the energy to do anything.  I was getting sinus infections every month, had sores in my nose that wouldn’t heal, and my arthritis pain was so bad, I couldn’t even sleep through the night. I was taking Alleve and allergy medicine on a daily basis.

I had no idea that I even had food allergies, much less that these food allergies were causing my arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other health problems.  I did an elimination diet for 30 days and while the first week or two was pretty rough, the last two weeks, I felt like I was walking on air.  All my symptoms vanished and I felt like a kid again.  I’d jump out of bed in the morning, go all day, and I had no pain, no sneezing, no dizziness.

Of course then I found out the hard way that if I ate just a tiny bit of gluten or sugar, all my symptoms would come right back.  So I worked on healing my gut. I took strong probiotics and avoided gluten and sugar.

It took me about 2 years but I did reverse my food allergies.  I can now eat anything — wheat, sugar, you name it — and I don’t have any symptoms.

What Causes Food Allergies & How One Woman Has Reversed Hers (Nourishing Days)

 

During my studies this semester one of my goals was to research some traditional methods of preparation and perhaps compare and contrast them to my more modern preparations. To be honest, I haven’t found that things are all that entirely different. We still make infusions, we still use poultices and ointments and have strange bottles of unidentifiable potions lying about. Some of us are still drying herbs on the rafter in our attic. It seems the folk methods of herbal preparation have been passed down the age fairly accurately. Even the use of penicillin is not an entirely new concept. Scottish healers would allow mold to grow on the surface of milk to be used as poultices on ulcerations. (Beith, 2004, p. 179) Some ingredients have gone out of fashion. I’ve yet to meet a modern-day herbalist who is using earth from a mole hill to cure rheumatism, but I am sure I might come across something similar, someday.

What I did come across was this old Gaelic proverb: “An rud nach leigheasann im ná uisce beatha níl aon leigheas air.” which translates to “What butter or whiskey does not cure cannot be cured.”

What butter or whiskey does not cure cannot be cured (Naturally Simple Living)

 

“But the real problem I have with the article is its open twisting of Scripture. No, the Bible does not say, “Parents, make your children obey you.” It never, ever does. And John Piper of all people should know better than to put things into the Bible that aren’t there. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t make sense to him that God would tell children to obey and not tell parents to make them obey: God is perfectly capable of saying exactly what He means. God also never says, “Wives, make your husbands love you,” or “Masters, see that your slaves obey cheerfully, as unto the Lord.”

Now, if I don’t believe that God tells me to force my children to obey, does that mean I sit back idly and let them do whatever occurs to them, however wrong or dangerous? Of course not. If it was my small boy playing with an electronic device on the plane, and they didn’t turn it off, it would be spending the rest of the flight in my purse. (And then, if it WAS one of my small boys, we would have a long and vivid discussion of the possible consequences of interference with radio transmissions, and all the people within earshot would be traumatized for life.)

So if the end result is the same, why do I bother to differ? Because I think it makes a difference where you start from.”
On Ends, Means, and Obedience (The Duchy of Burgundy Carrots)

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Yeah, that’s a promising post title, isn’t it?

Some of you may know that we have been cloth diapering the Wee Goon since he was about six weeks old. Ish. I didn’t write down the date or anything. Now, cloth diapering these days isn’t what it used to be. These aren’t your grandmother’s cloth diapers. You can get diapers that have snaps and go on just like a disposable, and then you put a cover over them. You can get diapers that are all one piece – and All-In-One or AIO – and are both the absorbent part and waterproof part. You can get diapers that you “stuff” with absorbent material, so that you can put extra in for at night, but then it comes apart to dry faster. Et cetera.

And you can get a diaper sprayer.

No more swishing the cloth diaper in the toilet to get the poop off before you wash it.

Unless you don’t have a diaper sprayer. Then you swish.

I don’t have a diaper sprayer.

It falls under the same category as “getting a better mop.” I would like a better mop. But we are getting by with the one we have. Sure, you have to hand-wring it to get the water out. Sure, it leaves behind enough dampness that unless the wood stove is lit, it takes For. Ever. to dry. But it’s manageable. Yeah, same category. I can swish the diapers. I’m not going to die from it. People have been doing it for decades. Thus, I don’t want to spend the money. Maybe I’m cheap. I like to think I’m frugal. But I’m probably just cheap. Then again, I would prefer to spend money on books than I would on housekeeping items that make life simpler. Go figure.

I was, admittedly, having a bit of a pity party recently. See, those of you in the cloth diapering realm know that once a baby is no longer exclusively breastfed, his stools tend to firm up. Breastfood stool… well, not so much. Anyway… the Wee Goon was introduced to solids months ago. And occasionally they are solid… but for the most part, they are… not. So it’s not like I can just open up his cloth diaper and “plop” it into the toilet… no, I’m still swishing. As I was saying… I was having a pity party. And then I was reading this blog post over at No Greater Joy Mom… and it was detailing a family’s experience in adopting a young boy from a mental institution in eastern Europe.

Yes, you read that correctly. Once children with special needs (Downs Syndrome, physical ailments, HIV+, etc) reach a certain age (normally four or five years), they are transferred from an orphanage where they are available for adoption, to an institution where adoptions are NOT an option. This family was the very first to ever adopt from this institution, and they detailed their time there. They also talk on their blog about the ongoing ministry that is happening there. Anyway… I read this:

In that lowest functioning group of outdoor boys, there were three older ones whom we got to know. They had a job carrying things back and forth from their shed area to their building, strange benches with multiple holes, so we saw them every day. All three were precious. One laughed and called out to Aaron and to us with glee every time he passed. His vocabulary was limited, but he always spoke with gusto. His legs were bent at odd angles, and one was much longer than the other, so he hobbled up and down the path each day; but he always laughed and clapped his hands, filled with joy. The second was silent, lost in his own world. He stared at us from a distance and gave us crooked smiles. The third was a sweet angel with Down Syndrome. He was short, bowlegged and as gentle as can be. Alone of the three, this one would wander over to spend time with us. He gently handled and played with Aaron’s toys. He spoke to us softly. He was a perfect gentleman in his behavior. Unfortunately, in his person he was anything but gentlemanly. His smell was overpowering, and when he offered his hand for us to shake, we could see why: his hands were stained with excrement.

Read the entire post here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Are you back? Okay.

Talk about being humbled. I read this, and I realized that it was a blessing to be able to “swish” my son’s diapers. I am blessed to be able to do that for him. He is blessed to have a mother, a family, to keep him in diapers. He is so blessed. We are so blessed. I cannot find the words to express what this means. I’m still thinking it over. But I had to share this with you.

May God use the plight that is faced by these boys to change your heart, as well.

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