Sunday, July 26, 2009

Raising Discerning Kids in an Undiscerning World

This is what has been on my mind of late.
How do Stacy and I teach our children to be spiritually, morally, even on a level of basic common sense, discerning, in this world that is filled with "Me. Me. Me."?
At times I am overwhelmed with this task.
As a Mom that also homeschools, I am left with a huge responsibility towards my kids on many levels. I am 100% positive that this is where God wants our family right now, and I look forward to attacking this coming school year with a new fire and increased discipline in my own life.
However, the older my kids get, the heavier the weight is becoming for the directions I still need to steer them in.

I have always been a big proponent of the "First 5 years". I believe that those years are foundational to a childs grasp on many things. Obviously there are the basics, learn to walk, talk, eat with a spoon, etc... but there are the areas that prove more effort on the parents part, like discipline, spiritual introductions, manners, etc.
I enjoyed the first 5 years of my childrens lives. I enjoyed seeing them learn and understand and grow. Progress was easily measurable in many ways, and things were a little more cut and dry. More black and white if you will.

But now, we have what I will call "The next 5 years". My kids are 9 & 7 now, so I guess we are in the middle of childhood. I feel the weight of these 5 years differently than I did the first 5. I look around me and I see the forces trying to suck my kids in. I see the world marketing all it has to offer to my 9 & 7 year olds. I see the church (as a whole) trying to entertain my kids and lull them into a false sense of spirituality.
Basically, I see a lot of things being thrown at my kids, that they have to learn to discern whether it has merit and is favorable in God's eyes, or not. The lines of black and white are being sketched more into gray, with some shadows of blue, maybe a little green thrown into the mix, and some red for a "POP".

I have been convicted lately about personal discernment. First of all, am I discerning the world, (and this includes the church) and my response to it, through the lens of Scripture? Am I teaching my kids to do the same thing? How do I teach my kids to do this? How do I teach them to examine their hearts, to measure things by the Gospel?
I will be the first to admit, its not always easy. It takes time, it takes patience, it takes energy, it takes discipline. This area of discernment is not an issue you just visit once or twice and move on. It is constant. It is everywhere. It begins with me. Ouch. That hurts sometimes.

I have to be honest and say that sometimes I tell my kids "Just go watch TV.", and then I don't take the time to see what they are watching. I mean obviously I know they are watching Disney Channel or Nickolodean, but I don't know what show they are watching.
Wow, shame on me for letting Disney and Nick discern for my kids what is appropriate to watch. I was ashamed of myself when I saw that the show my 7 year old daughter was watching, showed a teenage girl in her teenage boys bedroom, alone and kissing. It was "harmless" by the worlds standards, but what about through Gods standards, and what should be my standards.
Tomorrow I will be going to the "Charter" office, and we are getting rid of our cable.
Extreme? Maybe. Necessary at this point in our lives. Yes.
But there's a kicker. I'm not just cancelling cable and leaving it at that. We will talk, at length I'm sure, about the "harmless" things we watch and about the standards that God has laid out for us.

Here's the thing though. I can cancel our cable and get rid of the Disney Channel, but that does not solve our problem. The problem with raising discerning kids in an undiscerning world has crept into the church. Our kids are being raised in a media savvy culture, and that hasn't been left in the church parking lot. I am NOT in anyway against technology, media, lights, the band, etc. I am not against these things in our church buildings. What I am against is the churchs competition to be as good or better, than the "world" in these things, without any discernment and clarity of the Gospel.
I don't believe that we need to sit on hard wooden pews, and have an all day hymn service, and wear our long skirts. But I wonder what we are teaching our children when they have to be entertained every single second they are on church property. Its a hard line. I work with kids enough to know that. I don't know the answer either. I'm a VBS director for crying out loud, and VBS is about FUN! I'm all for fun, without compromise.
"I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." If I am not ashamed, then I don't need to compromise it either.
Do I think we compromise the Gospel with bright lights, and loud music, and engaging speakers?
Not necessarily. But I do think we can. And I think in many cases we do.

And this is where I start to feel the overwhelming responsibility as a Christian Mother, trying to raise discerning kids. In light of recent experiences and discussions with my 9 year old, I am newly reminded of my responsibility in helping him work through issues that the church has helped to confuse. I'm realizing more and more that this same child needs me to help him talk things out, and through these talks, he is learning to be a more discerning believer.
I can tell you that we still have a long way to go, but I am encouraged that God is working in his life to give him the desire to be a more discerning young believer. Whether he realizes thats what is going on or not.
But WOW! What a responsibility I have as a parent to discern for my kids so that they can learn to discern!
It kind of boggles the mind doesn't it?

I desperately want to raise Godly children. I am thankful for other parents God has placed in my life that want the same for their kids. I am thankful for Godly influences in my kids lives. People that are willing to invest themselves and live out the Gospel and further the kingdom of Christ in this young generation.
I pray that we all strive towards being discerning parents in an undiscerning world and that we might help our children do the same.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Dinner Bell

It is my goal to post my menu for the week every Saturday.
I didn't have to do it last week because we were at my parents over the weekend, and then Logan and I were at kids camp (along with 1300 other people!) during the week.
This left Lana at Marmi and Pappy's and Stacy to fend for himself. (With the groceries I left for fending of course!)

So here we go for this week....

Saturday- Pork Chops, Fried Poatoes, Corn ( Yes, this was completly unhealthy and everyone finished their plates!)

Sunday- How many times do I have to tell you people, I DON'T COOK ON SUNDAY!

Monday- Basil Caesar Salmon, Rice, Green Peas (as opposed to Magenta Peas)

Tuesday- Breakfast for dinner- Can I get a MMMMM???!!!

Wednesday- Red beans and Rice w/ Smoked Sausage and Corn, and Sour Cream Sauce (basically just some melted down sourcream and melted chedder cheese with a little garlic salt)

Thursday- Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin (from Aldi) Rosemary Potatoes, Brocolli

Friday- Tacos, refried beans, chips and Salsa

Breakfast this week:
Fresh Pineapple Juice- We bought 3 whole pineapples this week and are going to start juicing again.

Lunch this week:
Ham or Turkey Sandwiches
Pepperoni Quessedillas
Ramen Noodles
Bean Soup
Grilled Cheese

Bing Cherries
Blueberry Bread
Cheese cubes

Seriously folks, I had better not hear "I'm hungry, there's nothing to eat!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Some Goodies

These are a few of my favorite things...

I've been doing some exploring of creative blogs in order to come up with some new ideas to get my creative juices flowing.
For those of you that share my interest in such things, I am sharing with you, my faithful 3 readers, a list for your enjoyment.
Some of you may have been the ones that suggest these sites to me in the first place, and if you are, I thank you and am sorry to steal your thunder.

1. We are that family

2. Complete Organizing Solutions

3. EHow

4. Simple Mom

5. Spearmint Decor

6. Todays Creative Blog

7. How about Orange

8. Lloyd and Lauren

9. Not Martha

10. Better homes and gardens
I like this site because you can sign up for there e newsletter. I also like that the format is usually in pictures. I.E. 15 ways to spice up your kitchen, followed by 15 pictures. I'm visual! If you want me to do it, I've gotta see it!

There are others, I'm just leaving it at 10 for today. Leave me your favorites and I'll compile another list soon.

Happy Juicing!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Whats the Plan?

Last weeks menu posting went well for me.
I even got a little dollar dry erase board and put it on the fridge.
The kids loved looking at it and knowing what was for dinner that night.
So I am going to try again this week.
5 more weeks and it will be a habit!
I never even got to 2 of the meals because we had so many leftovers from other meals, so that was what Martha Stewart would call, A good thing.

Breakast, Lunch, and Snacks are pretty much the same.


Saturday- Tacos, Refried Beans, Chips and Salsa

Sunday- Event at Church

Monday- Shrimp Stiry Fry and Stewed Apples

Tuesday- Pork Chops and Oven Roasted Potatoes (Diced-tossed with Butter, Rosemary,and S & P), Brocolli

Wednesday- Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage, Salad

Thursday- Breakfast for dinner- Hashbrowns, Sausage, Eggs

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Caesar Crusted Salmon, Rice Pilaf, Peas

Monday, July 6, 2009

As Requested...

This is my recipe for Chicken Dressing Casserole.
You MUST eat this with Apple Sauce. My sister and I do that for some reason and it just makes it yummier than yummy.
We also like to have it with Green Beans for a well rounded meal. ( I say this in my best Food Network Hostess voice.)

Chicen and Stuffing Casserole
3-4 chicken breasts-cooked and cubed ( I just microwave it for about 12 minutes)
1/4 stick butter
1 can Chicken Broth
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 oz Sour Ceam
1 Box of Stuffing

Heat butter, broth, and Rosemary til boiling.
Add stuffing and set aside.
Mix mushroom soup, sour cream, and chicken in a seperate bowl.

Place in a greased 9x11 baking dish.
Top with stuffing mixture.
Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

When I made it tonight I used Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Ckn just because, and it was really creamy and good.
You can use low fat soups and sour creams.
You can also had celery to the broth mix, but I don't.

Enjoy :)

Must give props: This recipe (although I do it a little differently) comes from a cookbook from the ladies of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga.
I love this cookbook!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

2 Birds-1 Stone

I blog tonight for 2 reasons.
Reason #1- I need to be a better blogger. I just haven't been feeling it lately.
So in an effort to be more disciplined, I will be blogging more often.

Reason # 2- This week will be one of those tight grocery $ weeks, so I need to really use up what I've got. I thought if I actually have a menu documented, that I just might have to stick by it.
So, here we go.

Cinnamon Toast

PB, Honey, and Granola Wraps
Ham and Swiss Wraps
Cheese Quessedillas
Ramen Noodles
Bean Soup
Grilled Cheese

Fruit Smoothies
Blueberry Bread
Key Lime Bread

Sunday- Leftovers

Monday- Chicken Dressing Casserole, Apple Sauce, Green Beans

Tuesday- Spaghetti

Wednesday- Ckn stir fry-from a bag cause I already have it, Stewed Apples

Thursday- Breakfast for dinner- Sausage, Hashbrowns, Eggs

Friday- Pay Day

Needed from Store:
Apple Sauce ( You have to have applesauce with CKN casserole. It is a requirement!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

An All American Boy Birthday Party

Now, say that 5 times fast!
Last Friday was Logans 9th birthday, and in honor of this momentous occasion, we threw him an "All American Boy Party".
What does one do at an All American Boy Party, you might ask...

Well, when I throw an AABP, you are limited to 5 friends! Sorry Charlie, 6 boys for a sleepover is all I can handle!

A good old fashioned AABP has to start on the trampoline...

And some water balloons...

And maybe some boys thinking about throwing water balloons over onto the trampoline!

An AABP must have All American decorations...

And good old All American Boy food...
A shrimp boil, complete with Shrimp, Smoked Sausage, Corn on the Cob, and Potatoes, with some garlic bread on the side.
Of course you have to have Coca Cola in glass bottles to round out this All American Meal!

Cheers to some truly All American Boys!

No AABP would be complete without a gift card from Wal-Mart.
After all the Wal-Mart smiley face IS the new symbol of America.

Of Course some good ole fashioned Lincoln bills are pretty All American Boy too!

Now what good ole American boy doesn't love a Smore?
Here we combine the best of both worlds with these Smores Ice Cream Sandwiches.

All American boys must have at LEAST 1 picture with the classic "Rabbit Ears."

These All American boys where a little to wet and messy to eat Smores inside this All American Moms house ;)

NO Red blooded All American Boy actually wears their PJ's the right way in front of others All American Boys!

All American boys don't sleep until at least 3 A.M. and of course the ones that fall asleep first, get pranked on!
Even the All American Birthday Boy got a taste of the blue marker!

All American boys go to bed late, and awake mid morning, hungry and waiting for their Cinnamon Rolls! Give me Cinnamon Rolls or Give me Death, they declare!

Yes being an All American Boy is a good thing. The ages of 8-11 are kind of like the "Golden Years" of boyhood, and I think these Golden age boys succeeded in having a Birthday that Logan won't soon forget.