Monday, July 21, 2014

Grandparenting: Proper Feeding of Grandchildren

One of the many privileges of grand-parenting is serving as  adjunct advisor concerning the proper feeding and nourishment of little ones. In previous posts we have discussed this topic in depth here and here. Today we will focus on three vital components of a child's diet, protein, carbs, and condiments.
We will be assembling hamburgers and hot dogs, two nutritional mainstays of the younger set.
First, gather together all necessary ingredients:
Candy circus peanuts
Nilla Wafers
One can white ready made icing
One can chocolate ready made icing
Red, yellow, and green coloring for icing
Decorator bag and tips #4, #5, #7, #10, #80
Using white icing and small bowls, tint 1/4 cup icing in each color.

With a paring knife, make a clean slice into the "hot dog bun" about 2/3 of the way down, being careful not to slice all the way through. Gently bend open the bun. 
Carbohydrates are a necessary component for maintaining sufficient energy to enjoy
all activities in the home of grandparents.
With your cake decorating bag, gently squeeze the hot dog onto the bun.
Processed meat products accompanied by red dye are known to be beneficial to the well being of grandchildren.
A swipe of mustard can easily be applied.
Mayo is neither available nor tolerated at Grammy's.
Set aside for serving.
Remove hamburger buns from the package and place on platter for application of the burger and condiments. It is entirely likely that your grandchildren will require a sample of the buns to verify both taste and freshness.
By all means comply.
Any buns that have been chipped or damaged in any way in the packaging process should be immediately consumed.
Pipe the meat onto the bun using the #10 tip.
Be sure to  fill the bun to capacity with the meat, piping  as close to the edge as possible.
Using the #80 tip, add a ruffle of lettuce to the burger.
This is a sure-fire method of introducing green leafy vegetables into little darlin's diet.
Using the #4 or #5 tip apply mustard and ketchup to burger as desired,
making certain that both are visible at the edge of the burger.

Place bun top on burger.
Arrange hot dogs and burgers on a serving platter. 
Serve immediately, encouraging your grandchildren to clean their plates.
Their parents will thank you.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Famous Last Words: I'm Bored

It's a wonder my girls survived to adulthood with me as their mother. I was pretty tough on them. They learned rather early never to say, "I'm bored." Those two words may have slipped out once, but certainly not again. Well, let's see. You could fold laundry, wash windows, write a note to someone who's lonely, OR you could read a book.
We have A LOT of avid readers in our family now.
This reminds me of a story.
One of my darlins who shall remain nameless (except she would have most certainly been chosen "Least Likely to Commit This Crime") threw a tomato at the neighbor boy who just happened
to be wearing his brand new whiter than snow polo shirt. Not any more.
Did you throw a tomato at him?
No ma'am.
How did he get covered with tomato?
He got between the tomato and the ground.
Are you lying to me?
Yes, ma'am.
So let me get this straight. You threw a tomato at him and then lied about it.
Come to think about it, where did you get a tomato?
I STOLE it out of the McHenrys' yard!!
Using my super-advanced parenting skills, I sentenced my child to solitary confinement in her room which probably made her happier than anything in recent history.
Can I read a book?
No, you may not read a book. You're not in there to enjoy yourself.
I promise if you let me read a book, I won't enjoy it.
There's so much to do now with my children's children.
There's no way we can become bored.
We can watch Louie the Lizard who lives at my kitchen window.
Yes, I let the littles stand on the kitchen counter
and on occasion
hang out the window.
Please don't tell their parents.
Or we could play hide and seek with Cannibal, the man-eating cat.
Cannibal, hey man, we're out here!
Last week I asked Mary Kelly to pick up a doll house door for me.
"Sounds like Grammy to me," commented Meg.
Paint the door with craft paint.
Glue the door to the staircase in the kitchen.
Down low where little hands can reach it.
I've got to buy a door knob tomorrow.
It's a fairy door for all manner of little creatures who would like to come in and play.
But they need something to do.
We will make them some three legged stools to sit on.
See what the newspaper says?
Working toward the future.
Yes, we are.
Poor little guy got cramps in his arms and legs
trying to negotiate the three legged stool.
Looks like an itty bitty table for tea parties would work.
Collecting sticks is de rigueur with my grandchildren.
Grandmuvver taught us you never know when you might need a good stick.
These sticks from North Carolina have been living in a grocery sack
under the skirted table in the dining room just waiting for a good project.
We used a maple leaf for the table cloth.
A twig ladder is necessary for climbing the stairs.
How about some cherry pie and a little lemonade?
The little bowl and jug can be bought at Hobby Lobby, too.
They come in little bags on the wood aisle.
It's my favorite aisle.
Gracie found the jug and bowl totally irresistible.
She ate them.
The party was halted prematurely.
And no, we are not bored.
Not one bit.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Remembrance

The following post is excerpted from my travel journal to France.

10/27 Bayeux/Arromanches-les-Bains/Omaha Beach/Pointe du Hoc

I will remember this day for the rest of my life. From the Hotel Tardiff to the English Channel is a distance of only six miles. We had no difficulty finding Arromanches and the landing zone from D-Day. A steep up the road climb to the 360' museum where a film of the Battle of Normandy is shown. The films of the British and American soldiers, the civilians, the ships, gunfire, fires and destruction were incredibly sobering. We saw films of American factory workers building tanks, others of displaced French women and children pushing carts loaded with what remained of their possessions past burning and demolished villages and towns and down country roads.
More videos of wet, wounded, dying or dead soldiers and the voices of Churchill and Eisenhower saying, “ We will never give up-we will never surrender.” I'm always looking for my father in videos or photos of the war. He was a 19 year old soldier that summer of 1944 when he landed at Omaha 94 days after D-Day. I had a hard time holding it together during the 20 minute movie, especially thankful for the sacrifices these men and women gave, many of them the ultimate sacrifice, to give us the life we enjoy each day. Every American should see this place, this hallowed ground.
Sad, too, about what Dad went through, and it would seem changed the course of his life in so many ways. He laughed when I called to thank him after we saw the WWII museum in Paris. I can always be grateful that for whatever has been hard or lacking, God saved his life in Normandy so that I could be born and come to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and God as my Heavenly Father, live in a free country and be given a blessed life.

That was only reinforced as we stood at Omaha Beach and the American cemetery where thousands of American soldiers are buried. Row after row after row of white crosses and stars of David.
The French people gave the land of that cemetery to the United States so that her sons would not be buried on foreign soil. I will never forget.

Pointe du Hoc with its bunkers, craters, and barbed wire. What remains of the batteries that held guns capable of firing over a 24 mile span of shoreline.
The look-out bunkers where enemy soldiers report sighting American ships and soldiers.
Barbed wire lining the edge of sheer rock cliffs is more than one can take in, especially in an afternoon visit. The wind rips across the cliffs---how did these men survive the climb up such a wall of rock with wind tearing at their very being? Many of them sea sick or already injured. Equipment damaged in the crossing of the channel. Ropes too water-logged to be shot to the top edge of the cliff.
After these scenes in cold, cloudy, damp, windy weather (which somehow seemed so appropriate) we had little to say to one another for quite a while as we drove along the coast. Little to say except thanks to God for brave, selfless, ferocious American patriots who died to protect and preserve freedom. We will never, ever forget.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Like a Shepherd Nine: Training Ears and Taming Tongues

Look at these fuzzy pink ears tuned in to your every word. It's not always like this, is it? Good listening and wise use of the gift of speech are commended in scripture. Check out Proverbs 1:5;7:32;8:32 for a few references. Several times this semester we have gone to Deut.6:4 for instruction on teaching our children. Interestingly enough, this verse begins with the word hear, the Shema, the Hebrew word for hear. Hearing, listening, language and speaking are God's appointed means of communicating, both with one another, but especially with Him. He is the Word.
How can we train our children to be good listeners? Beeke says, "Listening involves much more than just hearing. It includes engaging our minds to assess accurately the message given to us and to understand the context in which it is given." Listening requires self control, humility, and diligence in thinking.
1. Self control: How many of us are thinking how we will reply while someone is still speaking? How many of us continue what we're doing instead of stopping to give respectful attention to the person speaking? Junior (and his parents) need to look others in the eye and get down on Junior's level to do so. Gentle but firm hands on Junior's little cheeks can help maintain his concentration and attention.
2. Humility: Phil.2:3,4. Listening is another expression of "my life for yours" Christian living. I care enough about you to enter into your world. Listening is also a matter of humility when correction or criticism is being given.
3. Diligence in thinking: Skilled listening requires understanding of what is being said in the context. Response is secondary to understanding. Think before you speak! We live in a noisy world filled with electronics and gizmos that keep our ears full and our minds rather empty. Bertrand Russell in his essay "Why I am Not a Christian" said, "Most Christians would rather die than think." Ouch. Of ultimate importance in hearing, listening, and thinking is that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We want our children to be well trained in listening in order that they may hear God's words of saving faith and instructions for living, that they will meditate (chew!) on his word, receiving both its comfort and correction.
How can we train our children to listen to God as He speaks, particularly on the Lord's Day?
1. By preparing them to hear it. Pray with your children that we would all come expecting to hear God speak to us, that God would bless his word, his servants who bring it and that our hearts and minds would receive it.  Have that expectation talk with your little ones about still bodies, but active ears and minds. Our Lord's Day bulletin is accessible on Friday on the FPC website. Read the scripture and sing the hymns. Familiarity with both is a confidence builder for young worshippers.
2. By assisting them to receive it: Perhaps sitting closer to the pulpit will help minimize distractions. Young ones who are participating in Lord's Day worship services should be able to tell you at least one thing they heard, be it from the bible reading, prayers, hymn singing, the sermon, or even an announcement. One of my little girls reported she heard the preacher say, "Today's passage is a difficult one". It was. That's a start! Our children, like Jesus, are growing in wisdom, favor and stature with God and man Luke 2:52.
3. By training them to apply it: James tells us to be not only hearers, but doers of the word (1:22). The scriptures are worth talking, thinking and praying about and then certainly worth applying. This of course requires diligence, time and effort on the part of parents, but doing so is faithfulness to Deut.6. Remember that God's primary school of evangelism is the Christian home.
Christians are not exempt from the battle against the tongue. The book of James is the go-to lesson. Go! God is a speaking God and our speech is a gift from Him to be rightly used to praise Him and to speak wisdom, another concern of parents for children Ps 34:11-14.
James points out the danger of poorly used language. Here are some rather frightening word pictures he uses. The tongue is:
* Destructive...a fire 3:6 A few unguarded words have the power to destroy relationships.
*Defiled and defiling v6. What we say has the power to tempt others to misuse speech.
*Devilish v6. Satan love to discourage, wound and attempt to destroy God's people by the misuse of the very means of communication God has given us.
*Defiant v 7,8. James says it is a restless evil like a tiger pacing in his cage waiting to break through the bars to attack.
*Deadly v8. The tongue is full of deadly poison, able to pierce hearts and minds like a snake bite.
Beeke gives us four kinds of words to restrain ourselves from using:
1. Judgmental or critical words. While God calls us to be discerning, He has not called us to be the critical judge of men. There is an appropriate time and place for redemptive criticism, but habitual tearing down is neither helpful, nor biblical.
2. Profanity, obscenity and vulgarity. No examples given or needed. Our speech should be reflective of the purity and holiness of God. Culturally acceptable language may change, but God's standard for purity, wholesomeness, and holiness is a constant.
3. Outbursts of anger. Anger, while at times most appropriate and righteous, is different from lashing out with words that harm and abuse. Be careful what you say to your children. They remember.
4. Nagging, murmuring and complaining. The Israelites (and we) were highly skilled in using these kinds of words about their lot in life. This kind of language goes back to the garden and a heart that doubts God's goodness and greatness.
What's the antidote? When prone to judgment or criticism, remember the mercy of God. When criticism is needed, it is redemptive and is kindly given in the context of loving parenting. The ultimate goal is to continue to point our children to Jesus. Our words are to be spoken as if they were the very words of God 1 Pet.4:11. Are they truthful? Helpful? Appropriate? Anger needs to be communicated respectfully. If Junior hasn't gotten angry with you yet, he will. Be ready. Help him learn to express his feelings in the safe, secure, and just environment of your home. Rehearsal required! And finally, cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving. Do everything without complaining and grumbling because we belong to and are the beneficiaries of a giving, loving, merciful Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Like a Shepherd Seven: Preventive and Corrective Discipline

Sources used in today's MOMs meeting were Parenting by God's Promises by Joel Beeke, Ginger Plowman's Don't Make Me Count to Three, and Everyday Talk by John Younts, all of which can be found in the FPC Learning Resource Center or at the normal locations. I recommend Ginger Plowman's book for elementary age children and older. All are very practical and biblically foundational, a combination often difficult to find in books on parenting. I also like Teach Them Diligently by Louis Priolo. Each of these authors goes to Eph.6:4 as their home base for preventive and corrective discipline. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Biblical discipline is directed at a teachable mind and spirit in order to make a follower or disciple of both Jesus and parent, involving Christ-like parental love, the mind and heart of parent and child, based on the Word of God.
We read in Hebrews For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, then you are illegitimate children, not sons 12:8. Discipline is a mark of godly love of a parent for a child. By nature we prefer convenience and comfort, and loathe the conflict and diligent effort that consistent godly discipline requires. In the weary days of  parenting young children it's easy to think, "I'll deal with that next time." Trouble is, Junior's discipline problems left untended grow in direct proportion to the size of his clothing. As one of my favorite counselors says, "Deal with it now, or deal with it later, but you WILL deal with it." Knowing how to discipline our children doesn't necessarily come easily, quickly, or naturally, and what we find works for Junior makes for a major mom-fail with Sister. In either case, we are wise to remember that all of our actions, parent and child alike, result from what lies in the heart. Proverbs 4:23; 22:15. The state of Junior's heart is serious business for the Christian parent. Jesus lived and died to pay for and to cleanse Junior from sin. God takes sin seriously, and so should we. Our hearts as parents must be steadfastly set on loving Jesus and following Him as an example to our children.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:7). Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). The heart and mind are connected and the God-inspired scriptures are profitable for teaching and reproof...preventive and corrective discipline! Sister grabs Junior's Legos and he takes her down. 1 Cor.13:4,5 tells us that love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Because Junior is enjoying his Legos, taking them would make him sad and would be rude as well. Love is not rude. It is also patient and kind. Sister, you may play with the Legos when Junior is finished with them. And Junior doesn't get off the hook here. (For the more complete discussion of this scenario you'll have to get the recording of today's message.)
If you ask Junior why he hit his sister, you're likely to get an, "I don't know." Most tiny-tots are unable to discern matters of their heart and to explain in reality why they do what they do. But hitting is neither patient nor kind. The great news is that God's word provides instruction on the "next time" event in 1 Cor.10:13. ..when you are tempted He will provide for you a way out. God provides a better way for us. Help Junior see that.
As parents we want to draw from our young'uns an assessment of what they are thinking, how they express themselves (that's not too hard to see), how their thoughts, words, and actions compare to God's word, and how they can think, speak and act in a way that shows God's point of view.
Just remember:
*Husbands and wives need to present a united front to their children. This necessitates discussion, praying and planning how you as a couple will discipline your children.
*Children need to learn early on that Momma and Daddy are the ones who "get to say."
*Children need to be instructed and told what is expected of them, even when they don't understand exactly why. Have the expectation conversation with them. "When we get to the Smiths' house there will be no running inside, no throwing yourself on the furniture, say yes ma'am and no sir, and do not ask for food. Got it?" No lecturing or brow beating. They'll just turn off their ears and minds.
*Parents need to take into account (with great wisdom) the personalities, maturity, and mental capacity of their children as well as their own strengths and weaknesses as they discipline their children. One child can be turned with a frown while the next may have ears, a mind, and heart of concrete.
What about corrective discipline? My favorite definition is "applying the rod of correction to the seat of understanding." :) Corrective discipline is a consequential action in response to willful disobedience, moral failure, or disregard for danger. It can range from time out, loss of privileges, manual labor, to spanking. Here is a recommended process:
1. Punishment is administered from love for the child, not anger. Take time to cool off when Junior makes you mad as a hornet. Pray Lord, quench my anger, fill me with love for my child, and let me punish him with compassion and a desire to do him good all the says of his life. Keep me from being like Eli who failed to discipline, but also keep me from being a Saul. 1Sam.3:13;14:43,44.
2. Punishment is administered in plan with prayer. Mom and Dad need to be a united team who has prayed for the wisdom God promises to give liberally (James 1:5). Pray with your children that God would work in their hearts to make them more and more like His own Son Jesus, whose joy it was to do the will of His Father.
3. Administer punishment with faith that God will use His appointed means to bring all of His children to repentance, a saving knowledge of Him, and a desire to live for Him. Do you presume  on the riches of God's kindness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Rom.2:4.
4. Punishment is administered appropriately
*Not in anger
*With confession (which will serve them well throughout life)
*With a preordained number of swats that will sting, but NEVER injure
*Hold him (even if he's angry) There is safety, security and restoration.
*Pray with him Father, I pray that you would show us how we may live to honor you and your word, Guide us in the paths of righteousness, show us when we wander from the path. Forgive us when we sin against you and each other and restore us to you and our family.
*Guide your child to restoration and restitution where needed.
Once again, this is a summary and listening to the recording will fill in gaps and provide a more detailed explanation on this difficult subject. Thanks again for the effort you all make to be there and to participate with your discussion and questions. Two more weeks left!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

In honor of Math Girl's 40th birthday she and I set out for Replacements Ltd. in McLeansville, NC, near Greensboro. I'm not sure what I thought we were going to find, but 500,000 square feet of over 400,000 patterns of china, crystal, silver, and collectibles was far more than I expected. The owner Bob Page began visiting estate sales and in 1981 quit his regular job to begin selling from his vast collections.  This is the Great Wall of China featuring their 500 most popular patterns of china. Don't worry, if you don't see yours through the glass windows, chances are they have your pattern, your mother's pattern, your everyone's pattern tucked away somewhere. Their online site has a form to fill out that will send their detectives in search of your family's treasures and collectibles.

One of my first thoughts was who gets to dust all of these glass shelves and thousands of goblets?
I really know how to take the fun out of everything.

 Math Girl and I anticipated sorting through sky high stacks of plates, cups, saucers and bowls. That's not how it works. The showroom doubles as a museum and most of what is seen is happily ensconced in gigantic, gorgeous antique display cases from jewelry stores and the grand old department stores.

 These treasures all enjoy silent repose on a piece from J.P. Morgan's estate. Remember, during WWII many of America's art masterpieces were placed there for safe keeping as he had one of the few climate controlled mansions accessible by rail. Lots going on at J.P.'s house.
 Case after case of sterling silver hollowware. If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. I remember as a child seeing a photograph of Queen Elizabeth's sterling dresser set. That was the first I'd heard of a dresser set, which solidified in my thinking the fact that I'd never be Queen of England. 

 Two of my little granddaughters reminded me as well of my queenly deficiencies. I don't live in England and I don't have royal blood. That settles it. Maybe I'll just have to buy the plate.

Or the figurines from the case of all things royal.
That will keep me humble.
Humbles. That's what my girls used to call these figurines.
This one was gigantic.
Nearly life size.
Do you like Wedgewood?
Mountains of it in baskets.
Or to wear just in time for spring.
Nothing says springtime like a spread of blue and white.
I'll have one of each, please.
We saw a table or two set with seasonal goodies.
And ladies in their spring finery.
Notice the eyelashes.
She could land a job on FOXnews.
Walk this way, please.
This way to the land of overstocks.
Now you're talking.
Just what I was looking for.
A little blue and white and a little red and white.
Every thirty minutes a guided tour of Chinatown is offered.
Have you ever seen a plate depicting the Exodus?
Never before, and surely not anywhere else.
The 500 most popular patterns are up front neatly stacked.
Then you enter the warehouses of china immemorial.
Row after row after stack after stack.
All in boxes. All meticulously labeled on each row, each shelf, each box.
If you are one of their thousands of online customers your pretty plates are lovingly packaged here for shipping. Replacements also devotes an entire department to research.
That sounds like a great job to me.
Also available are china, silver and crystal repair services. They'll even pierce a spoon or serving piece to order. Damaged in a fire or Katrina? No problem.
Replacements repairs or like the name implies.
That's their business.
Is your pattern Flora Danica circa 1761 from Royal Copenhagen?
$1400 for a cup and saucer and a tad less for a dinner plate.
That would make you as Mary Engelbreit says,
"The Queen of Quite a Lot"
If you're ever in the North Carolina Triad try to make the stop at
Replacements Ltd.
I didn't even mention the Christmas room.
Or Bob's Bargain Corner.