Back in the saddle again!

Monday morning and I didn't feel like getting out of bed. Another beautiful mushy spring snow falling out the window and it seemed like cuddling up would have been fun--but alas I have an extroverted almost 14 year old raring to get back at life--so she gives me accountability. I am glad to end on someone so idealistic and she is self-motivated and I think the Lord knew at this busy season of life, I would need someone who is driven to keep me going!

Just a few thoughts and I promise I will write more later this week. Also, please let me know if there are any subjects you would like for me to address. Sometimes when I speak 9 weekends and then to 8 events in China, I assume that I have nothing new to say and everyone has already heard all of my opinions since I have had to hear myself so often!

Just a simple thing to share--I have so many cooking ideas that I revert to so often because I have cooked thousands of meals and sometimes I just want easy. One of my family's favorite meals is when I make homemade chicken soup and to me it is so easy. Often, I will boil a whole frozen bag or two of chicken breasts as I can then freeze them in small containers and I have an instant meal. (I also do this with hamburger, turkey, and brown rice!)

But today, I knew that I would be taking Joy to some call backs for a local production of Pride and Prejudice tonight, so I threw dinner together this morning. I got out bagged chicken from the freezer and a bag of frozen brown rice. I sauteed a table spoon of garlic, a medium chopped onion and about a tablespoon of  herbs (French--thyme, parsley, rosemary) in about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, more or less. To this I added about a 1/2 cup of cooking wine. (learned some of these tricks when I lived in Europe for 6 years). 

I also put in about one teaspoon of salt (to taste), a few twists of fresh ground pepper and about 4-5 cups of water to simmer. I also added 3 cups of frozen peas and carrots. I let this simmer around 20-thirty minutes until the veggies were cooked and the other stuff was thawed. Then I melt two Tablespoons of butter, a teaspoon and a half of condensed chicken bouillon (without MSG--you can get it at Sam's or health food store.) And 1/3 cup of flour. Stir constantly until thickened and get all the lumps out. Then to this I add 2 cups of milk and stir it together. Add this to the soup mixture until it is thickened. You may add a few fresh herbs to it the last few minutes. Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream (and garlic croutons if you like.) I make it in about 15 minutes as I know how to throw things together. We get a jar of homemade applesauce out of the cabinet and either have it with a piece of toast (I promise sometime soon I will give out my bread recipe--it's just that it is not exact as I have been throwing it together for so many years, I am afraid I will not give out the right measurements and many will have a disaster!--I know by looking whether it needs more flour and such! so I just throw flour in until it looks right! :)) or we make oatmeal muffins--also very easy--but that will have to wait until I see Sarah again as she has it in her head! Enjoy!

Now, as to what is on my mind these days, ..... I want to write more about the culture of a family and about the art that a mom creates in her home. I have pondered and pondered why so many children adopt the values of their mom and dad and why so many reject them--even if they have been raised in a Christian, conservative home--where the mom is totally committed to them. 

Of course I will give a longer answer later. But I do think that the basis of her philosophy determines, to a great deal, what she is able to pass on. I see so many moms who think that teaching children scripture, training them morally, disciplining consistently and if they homeschool, choosing the right curriculum, is what will make for a good, moral, emotionally healthy child--who will retain the values of home. 

However, if we really understand the dimensions of God--he is not just a philosophy or doctrine to be know--but a person to relate to--we will begin to get at more of what our children need to see with integrity in our home. God is a God of creation and color--beauty, seasons, textures, music, art, thoughts and words, fun and humor, love and excellence; ability to think deeply and well, etc, etc. then we will understand that in order for our children to see more of the reality of God in our home, we must include more of what He has displayed in culture and in our very being. It is in shaping the culture of our home--meals, beauty on our walls and in our decor; great books and ideas, fun traditions and rousing discussions, cozy bedtimes each night. playing games together; serving together; feasting together--honoring the need for relationships--having people into the home--making deeply felt loving memories and ties to our heart; teaching and instructing about all aspects of life and providing dinner table discussions night after night--things that serve the mind, heart, body and spirit of a child--it is the overall culture of home that ties children to God and us. When they experience love and the close security of a family; when we trust our children and give them arenas in which to develop as young adults, when we show love and compassion to a lost culture--these are all important bits that make up the whole.

I see many children turn away from their homes and values when they get out into a post modern world and find it to be very different from their family. But because their parents. (even with good hearts) developed a fear based reaction to culture (It is a terrible place--don't ever do this or that; college kids are corrupt, and I don't trust you to be able to manage this yourself--I will rule over you!) then I see kids going out into culture and finding themselves surrounded by a world that is shocking to them or one in which they know their parents wouldn't approve and so they don't talk to their parents and don't share because they are afraid they will receive condemnation or reaction even if they shared what their temptations were or what life was like, and so eventually, they capitulate to the world's culture.

In other words, if home is a place of fear and guilt and legalism and shame and indoctrination of scripture and lots of spanking and harshness, then children will not thrive--their hearts will not be engaged in loving God because they never experienced the joy of loving God and rejoicing in life daily in their homes--life was more about duty and chores and responsibility and rules--this is a formula for disaster for most children.

However, if your home is the best place they will ever be and you have been cultivating in them, little by little, convictions and world view; if you have trained them to think of themselves as lights to a fallen generation and modeled compassion to the lost in front of them; if you have developed trusting, loving relationships with them through out their whole lives to them their whole lives, so that they can talk to you about everything, and you can help walk them into a fallen world and teach them how to manage this because you are still close to them, then they will become successful adults who learn how to navigate Christian morality in a fallen world with you there supporting, encouraging and helping along the way. It is a trust factor and relationship factor that makes a difference--and making home a place of life-giving, that they may hear about God and theology and then they taste it in the beauty of home, the celebrations of home, the service of home, the meals of home and music and art and so on--it is a whole life testimony of God's reality felt in every moment and in every relationship and every minute  of life chores and family celebration--then the joy of God, his love, his excellence, his servant heart will be felt, heard, understood, and celebrated in such a personal way, that it will become a part of their very fiber. . I will try to write more on this later, but thought I would just give it a 10 minute stab. Let me know other issues that you would enjoy discussing!

Onward to life!