Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When We Exasperate Our Children, We Put Their Salvation At Risk

If you haven't noticed recently, I'm struggling with anger, especially with my children. My expectations are too high, my need to impress is ridiculously out of whack, and my frustrated attempts at perfection are hurting everyone. 

Can you relate? 

I have felt very much alone lately, as if this were only my sin because for some reason, Moms don't share their bouts of anger, their temper tantrums. Yet, I dare say I'm not alone, as is evident from the abundance of {great} comments in this post.

Spilt milk
Photo Credit: andypowe11

Personally, when my children spill the milk, drop the eggs, backtalk, sass, hit their siblings, and act like children, I start out okay: I'm patient, use calm words, forgive, clean up the mess, encourage. 

But as the childish and disobedient behavior picks up speed, my patience reaches a breaking point. I begin to yell, I lash out, I criticize, and I provoke my children. 

Yet God specifically instructs parents that this behavior is wrong:
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Ephesians 6:4 {NIV}

 To "exasperate" means "to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely." 

The King James Version uses "provoke" instead of "exasperate."

 "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Provoke means "to incite, stir up."

It comes from the Latin provocare, which means "to call forth to someone, to challenge."

When we are too critical of our children,
When we punish them for every.single.error.they make,
When we yell,
When we speak discouraging words,
When we are quick to ridicule and slow to praise,
When we dwell on the negative,
When we set unachievable expectations,
When we stop instructing our children "in the way they should go,"

We provoke, exasperate, incite, and stir our children up. 

That is sin.

What are we supposed to do instead of provoking our children?

At the end of verse 4 in The Message, Paul writes:
"Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master." {emphasis mine}

As moms, we have a heavy responsibility: we are often the primary--maybe even the only--spiritual influence our children have. Therefore, we need to make sure our words, actions, and attitudes reflect a desire to see our children walking in the Light. We are responsible for bringing our children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." That is no easy task. It means teaching them how God expects them to talk to one another, to act towards one another, how to love one another.

Millstone, Waterfoot
When we provoke our little ones in any way, we hinder them from knowing the Lord. We stop leading them "in the way of the Master" and start tying that millstone around their fragile little necks. We may not realize it, but when we exasperate our children, we're drowning them because we aren't giving them opportunity to come up for air. The weight of our words, tone, actions, and behavior is too great.

My goal shouldn't be getting my children to obey me because I said so, but encouraging them to obey God because He says so.

So, I've got to get my temper under control. I've got to stop provoking my children because if I don't, they will stop following God and start following me. 

And you know what?  

I am not the way, the truth, and the life. 

Jesus is.

What about you? Do you struggle with provoking your children? I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, advice in the comments below.

Blessings to you,

Linking up to these great parties!
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pinterest Help for the Avid Pinner

When I declared in January that one of my 2013 goals was to try out one new Pinterest pin per month, I knew that wouldn't last long. Well, I was right. It's the end of April, and I've only posted twice about my experiences:

However, I HAVE been experimenting and want to share with you a new board full of recipes that I have pinned and tried. I thought it would be helpful for people who follow me on Pinterest to know what I've actually tried and my opinions on them. So, I'm starting with recipes.

The "Pinned Recipes I've Tried" board contains every recipe I have pinned and tried. Right now, I have 48 pins here, but as I experiment, I will add to the board.

I have also provided a brief commentary for you, sharing my thoughts about the recipe--whether we liked it or not. Some of these recipes--like the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough, mashed potatoes, & beef stew--are now my go-to recipes that I use regularly. 

I wanted to share this information with you because Pinterest is so overwhelming. There is so much on there but not all of the recipes are good: some are too labor-intensive, some aren't flavorful, and some are just downright yuck. 

Personally, before I commit time, energy, and ingredients to a recipe, I want to know what other people have to say about it. If my kids won't eat it, then I won't fix it. It's just a waste.

So, as I make the recipes I've pinned, I will add them to my "Pinned Recipes I've Tried" board for your viewing pleasure.

And as I complete projects, crafts, books, etc., I will set up similar boards with {hopefully} helpful comments for you. In so doing, I feel good about sticking to my goal and doing something useful with the pins I've tried.

I hope this is helpful for you!

My latest pin pick:

It was a success! Not for the dieter, diabetic, or heart-conscious but delicious! It's like eating a big cinnamon roll :)

Follow all my boards on Pinterest!

What about you? Do you have a way to keep track of the pins you've tried on Pinterest? Is this even of interest to you? 

Blessings to you,

Linking up to these great parties!

If you would like to have Growing in His Glory delivered to your inbox, click here: Subscribe to Growing in His Glory. Or join us on Google Friend ConnectFacebookTwitter, & Pinterest.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Slowing Down: What the Weary Do When They Finally Reach Their Limit

Hour Glass

Life has been hectic lately. I haven't had much time to blog. I've read very little in terms of books. My to-do list never seems to get done, and my email inbox is maxed out.

I feel like I'm always rushing from one thing to another, and in the process, my kids are getting the worst of me. We're always late somewhere, and I'm usually yelling at someone for causing our tardiness.

Our oldest, Kate, has already commented several times lately that she doesn't want to do ballet or play any sports this fall because she is tired and wants to stay home. When the always-on-the-go child says that, you know everyone needs a break.

For those reasons (and more), I want to slow down. I am looking forward to the summer when we have no commitments, no pressures on us to be on time and fully clothed, no practices or anything we have to do. I'm anticipating time to unwind, play in the kiddie pool, stay home, and slow down. And I'm thinking about plans for the fall and ways we can continue the slow, stay-at-home approach even then (unless we need a shift back the other way).

In the meantime, I'm trying to prioritize better right now, find a more equitable balance, and relax a little more with my husband and kids. If I'm not blogging a lot, then you know I don't have anything worthy to report. Instead, I'm baking, reading, planning, or playing. 

Bear with me during this season. The Lord is good. I am only following His lead.

I hope you will take time today to "taste and see that Lord is good..." (Psalm 34:8).

Blessings to you,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When Our Anger Isn't Under Control

I never remember being angry as a child. When I was a teenager, I never really rebelled in the true sense of the word. As an adult, there have been moments of frustration, but anger? Not really.

Something happened after our first born child arrived. All of a sudden this quality I had never really known or experienced started veering its ugly head.

For the first time, I started really losing my cool. I began to yell, throw, kick (not the kids), even curse. Mama threw some mean temper tantrums, and I finally justified my red hair and Irish roots. The Incredible Hulk in me emerged.

My struggles with anger are real. I pray daily for the Lord to help me give gentle answers and a patient heart to my children. I pray for my love to grow and my anger to shrink. I thank God for grace and mercy and try to give myself a healthy dose every day, knowing that my perfectionist tendencies are what set off this anger. 

In my mind, I have a picture of how my children should look, act, speak, and in reality--as we all know--kids are kids. They don't measure up even though I have 3 pretty terrific girls. 

My too-high expectations hurt everyone: my kids, my husband, my self. 

To be angry is not a sin. Throughout the Bible we see countless examples of God's wrath. Consider the Israelites who continually rebelled and Balaam whose greed angered God to the point that He opened the donkey's mouth. We also witness Jesus' righteous indignation with the money changers in the temple. 

Being angry is not a sin.

We are created in God's image and thus we are like God: that means--like God--sometimes we get angry.

How we act, though, when we are angry is the key.

I've taped a verse to the lampshade beside my bed. It's a reminder that when I get angry, I need to retreat. I need to be quiet. I need to examine my heart. I need to ask myself: Why am I angry? Is my anger righteous or self-righteous indignation?  

"In your anger, do not sin, when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." 
Psalm 4:4

There are countless things we as Christians should be angry about: child abuse, exploitation, sex trafficking, violence against the defenseless, poverty, to name a few. But unless that anger is properly directed it accomplishes nothing. That anger must serve a purpose; it must motivate us to change.

The anger that my children incite in me also needs direction. I can't let it bottle up inside until I explode. I don't need to speak hurtful words that will damage their little hearts. They don't need to witness me break another lamp because of improperly directed anger. 

I have to come to a place where my anger is under control and not controlling me. 

That means:

  • Reining in the self-righteous (e.g. I deserve this...) anger
  • Letting go of perfect
  • Redirecting my anger towards more worthy concerns
  • Retreating for a moment to be silent, pray, & examine my heart
  • Continually assessing the causes of my anger and finding applicable solutions/remedies

I am still on the journey and probably will be for some time.

What about you? How do you handle anger? I would appreciate your {healthy} suggestions.

Blessings to you,

Linking up to these great parties!

If you would like to have Growing in His Glory delivered to your inbox, click here: Subscribe to Growing in His Glory. Or join us on Google Friend ConnectFacebookTwitter, & Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What I'm Reading: April Twitterature

This is only my second attempt at Twitterature this year, largely because I didn't read very much in February and early March. But I'm picking up speed in an attempt to meet my Goodreads goal of 50 books.  I hope you enjoy these short, pithy reviews. Maybe they'll give you some ideas of what {not} to read.

What I've Been Reading...

Othello, William Shakespeare

"O, beware...the green-eyed monster!" Iago = Evil personified. Classic Shakespeare, replete with dramatic irony, scandal, and murder. #readthisplay!

Lean In: Women, Work, & the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg

Thought-provoking yet almost conversational feminist treatise by Facebook's COO. #speakup! Geared toward working women/men but pertinent to the SAHM/D. #sitatthetable #mustread

Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott

Classic Lamott: Crass, witty, but full of wisdom & insight. Love this quote: "3 things I can't change--the past, the truth, & you." #mindexpanding

Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James

Love Austen. Did NOT love this book despite James' close adherence to the original Pride & Prejudice. Just say no to sequels & spin-offs. #mystery #not-worthy

 Macbeth, William Shakespeare

Classic tragedy full of relevance today: violence, power, ambition, greed. "Macbeth, stop listening to your wife (& those witches) & be a man!" #lackluster 

     Those are the books I've read in March & April thus far. For more Twitter-style book reviews, go to Modern Mrs. Darcy.

What are you reading that you LOVE? I seriously need some good fiction!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why We Plan to Homeschool . . . At Least for Now

I never thought I would say "I'm going to homeschool." I've always looked forward--perhaps a little too eagerly at times--to the day my kids start school, so the house will once again be clean. Even as I type this post I find myself envying those moms of school-going kids and their free time. Yet the more I pray for direction and guidance about the education of our girls, the more I feel God pulling me towards homeschooling.

I've posted before about my reluctance to homeschool, but recently, I've been feeling it even more as friends share their exciting news about their children going to this or that kindergarten in the fall. I am happy for my friends because they are doing what is best for their kids. However, in my heart, I know that there isn't a school out there better than the school we create ourselves--at home.

That being said, here are our top 10 reasons for deciding to homeschool (at least for now). {We know things may change and homeschooling may not always be feasible, so we intend to take it year-by-year with each child.}

1. Our commitment to raising our children to know the Lord.

Now I know there are some great Christian schools that offer Bible classes and weekly chapel time, but those schools are simply not affordable for a growing family nor do they all offer the type of Bible-based instruction we want for our children. And we all know that even though there are some wonderful Christian teachers, God has been kicked out of public schools. 

Raising children to know the Lord and walk with Him in every facet of their lives is something I believe is a parent's responsibility. Children need to be able to stop and pray and read their Bibles when they're troubled, and that's simply not an option in most schools--public or private.

2. Our desire to protect our children.

Some people think homeschooling parents are doing more harm than good by keeping their children "sheltered" from the real world. But isn't protecting our children from sin and evil something God expects of parents? Bambi at Nursery of the Nation recently wrote something that truly resonated with me:

"God never intended His children to know evil. He wants us to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. Satan is the one who told Eve to taste for herself. And he wants us to fall for that same lie.
Moms, our task is not to bring up children that fit in with this world. Are your kids weird? I hope so. I hope they seem like they are from another world. If we are fitting in with the world then we are conformed."

I don't want my kids to learn about homosexuality in elementary school or to endure bullying. They don't need to be exposed to the evil that is in this world; they will experience it soon enough. 

So, yes, I do want to shelter my kids in order to maintain their innocence and purity as long as possible. And if that makes them appear "weird" in the eyes of the rest of the world, then so be it!


3. Our hope of instilling in them a lifelong love of learning.

My husband and I are both nerds lifelong learners, meaning we read for fun and clamor for knowledge. Our insatiable desire to always be willing to learn is a quality I pray for in our children. I want to encourage and cultivate that childlike curiosity so it will grow and produce great fruit. 

Homeschooling allows me to do that because I'm not worrying about teaching to "the test" or meeting every students' needs. If one child wants to learn more about ladybugs, then we can buy a ladybug kit, check out some books from the library, and go to town observing ladybugs. 

By instilling a love of learning in our children we teach them that there is always room to grow; we never know it all. 

4. The ability to "do school" whenever & wherever.

As a child, I was sad when school let out for the summer. I loved school: the books, the work, the learning. And summer time meant boredom for me. But with home schooling we can learn year-round or take a month off here or there as needed. 

The flexibility of homeschooling is very appealing to me. I like that we can visit the zoo or go on a trip during the week when everyone else is in school, so we don't have to fight crowds. Also, I like that we can do lessons in the mornings and take the afternoons off to play or do housework; we can take our school work to the park or grandma's house; we can do school Monday through Saturday or take off Fridays for field trips. The when and where is entirely up to us. 

5. So we can teach our children what we value & believe in.

Whether public or private, secular or Christian, schools have their own agendas, which they are implanting in the hearts of the children they teach. We want to know exactly what is being sown in our kids' hearts, and the best way to do that is by homeschooling. 

In addition to instilling God's Word in their hearts, my husband and I want our girls to be servants, giving of their time, energy, and talents to others. Homeschooling will give us the time and freedom to do service projects and mission work, which we believe are integral to a well-rounded education. Christ is the center of our home, and we want Him to be the center of our home school, too.

Also, while reading, writing, and math are important subjects, we also want our kids to have basic life skills that most schools don't teach like learning how to raise and preserve food, make bread, balance a checkbook, and interact with a variety of different people (not just those their age). By homeschooling, we can choose what and how to teach our children based on our family's goals and priorities. 


6. Because we want to be our children's primary influence for as long as possible.

This one hearkens back to #2, but we believe that the parents--not teachers, coaches, or peers--should have the greatest influence on their kids. The values and beliefs we adhere to will be challenged, questioned, even rejected if we don't keep our children close while they're growing and learning. Once they reach an age of maturity, then they will be ready to face opposition, but only after years of guidance. 

Some Christian parents argue that we need to send our innocent children to school to "be the light" to non-Christians. I disagree. Our children aren't missionaries or teachers. Sure they can be the right example, but they shouldn't be held to the high standards that we as seasoned Christians are. We shouldn't expect naive 7-year-olds to witness to nonbelievers until they're firmly rooted in the Word and mature in their faith. For now, my job is to teach them the truth and ground them in the Word so that when they are older, they will be ready to share the Gospel with the world.

7. So we can spend as much time with our children as possible.

Many days I long for a school bus to pick up my kids and carry them away. Those are the days when I need an attitude adjustment and maybe a little quiet time alone. But I know my kids are growing up too fast, and I don't want to miss a minute of it! Sending them to school would mean missing out on way too much. 

By homeschooling we get to witness their victories with our children--like learning to read and losing that first tooth; we get to encourage them when they struggle with fractions or cursive; and we get to applaud them when they succeed in writing their first essay. My heart fills with excitement at the thought!

8. Because I'm a teacher at heart.

God has given us all unique gifts, which we are commanded to use to further His kingdom. One of my gifts is teaching, and I believe that the best way to utilize this gift is by teaching my children. 

I love to find new ideas to share with my kids; I love creating mini-lessons about something that's interesting to them; I love learning right along with my kids. Homeschooling allows me to do both: teach and learn. Together. What better way to make use of God's gift than to be my children's instructor!


9. So our children can learn at their own pace, according to their own learning styles, and about their own interests.

When I was in school, I was bored, and because I wasn't being challenged, I got in trouble. My fear is that our children will experience the same boredom and their desire to learn stifled in an attempt to keep everyone at the same level. We want our kids to pursue what interests them as far as that rabbit trail will take them because that's what learning is about. Not textbooks and test-taking and not assimilation. I don't want my kids to be status quo; I want them to excel!

Our middle child is a mover. My fear is that she would be labeled ADHD as a result of her need to be active. She's also a hands-on learner with a knack for puzzles, so she probably wouldn't be successful in a typical classroom setting, even though she is highly intelligent, simply because she requires a different teaching style. By homeschooling her, I can teach according to her learning style--something a school teacher cannot do. 

10. The main reason we're homeschooling (for now at least) is because we believe it's God's will.

I've felt the burden on my heart to homeschool for a while now, but stubborn little me has resisted and resisted, digging my heels deep down into the dirt and trying with all my might to avoid it. I've researched school after school, but in my heart, I would be acting in defiance of God's will were we to send our children to school. I am committed to obedience, and as long as the Lord wills it, we will homeschool our children.

I know it will be hard: I value quiet time to myself, but I have a plan. And I firmly believe that if God wills it, He will provide all that I need to achieve it. I'm holding firmly to that hope.

If you homeschool your children, what were your original reasons? Have those reasons changed? Do you have any advice for me as I embark into this new endeavor?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Menu Plan for the Week of April 7

This past week was somewhat of a vacation for us as the girls were on Spring Break from their extracurricular activities. We went on two picnics, spent some serious Q-T at three different playgrounds, rambled at the library, and ate at Chick-fil-A for lunch one day. Plus, the older girls spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday with their grandparents livin' it up. It's been fun, spontaneous, and pretty care-free, but I'm ready for a little more structure and we're out of clean towels.

So, I'm back to the drawing board and meal planning for the week.

Do you meal plan? And I don't mean deciding that morning what you're going to fix for supper. I mean planning meals days in advance to eliminate the agonizing question:

"What's for dinner tonight?!"

Having a meal plan, for me, is one less thing to think about. I simply look at the menu posted on our wall and get to work. For more info, check out this meal planning post

So, here's what's on our menu this week:


Chocolate-chip pancakes & sausage 
Barbecue pulled pork, coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, & easy baked beans


Source: momadvice.com via Keri on Pinterest

Oatmeal with frozen blueberries
Vegetable-chicken soup (freezer) & grilled cheese sandwiches
Grilled ground beef gyros on homemade Naan


Yogurt, homemade granola, & fruit
Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, orange slices, & veggie sticks
Pork carnitas with black beans & salad


Blueberry muffins, scrambled eggs, & fruit
Lunch out


Source: realsimple.com via Keri on Pinterest

Oatmeal with frozen blueberries
Turkey & cheese roll-ups with pretzels, carrot sticks, & grapes
Glazed salmon with broccoli rice


Source: food.com via Keri on Pinterest

Chocolate chip scones, scrambled eggs, & fruit
Picnic at the park!
Pizza night!


Breakfast casserole & fruit
Dinner out

What will you be eating this week?

For these and other great recipes, check out my "Menu Plan" and "Colon-Healthy Recipes" boards on Pinterest

Blessings to you this first day of the week!