Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glorious Muffins

In an effort to be more efficient, we made muffins and zucchini bread at the same time. It turned out to be the perfect distraction for a rainy day, as the girls each had their own bowls to stir.

My sister Erin, introduced me to Morning Glory Muffins when we were all staying at the beach a couple of years ago. They are very healthy! We bake them in jumbo muffin tins. The recipe comes from the Earthbound Farms Cookbook, but I found they have the same recipe posted on their website (the one I linked to).

There are a few modifications I make to the recipe that make the muffins better (in my opinion). I use less baking soda (a little over 1 1/2 tsp instead of 2) and I add 1/2 cup of yogurt to the wet ingredients. I also use whole wheat pastry flour for 2 cups of the all purpose flour.

The girls pretty much ate lunch while we made the muffins- snacking on raisins, pecans, coconut, pineapple, shredded carrots!

Tommy proudly displays a finished muffin:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breaking Out

Oh, to live in the country....and have a quaint little farm with a few animals...Everything will be so charming!
Yes, I confess to having thought this before we moved out to the country with our little "farmette." And actually, I really love where we live and wouldn't trade it for the city any day. That being said, country life is WORK. We only have a few cows and some chickens, and it is lots of work!

I am mentioning this today because we spent the better part of the day rounding up wayward cows. It doesn't matter that they have twenty-five acres to pasture- and there are only three of them. The grass IS always greener. Penny, the Momma milk cow is content. It's her feisty teenage calf (actually not even a year old, but acts like a teenager) giving us all the trouble. He jumped the cattle grate, trampled an electric fence, and went under another. Just to get out. FREEDOM!

Isn't that the cry of the age? I wanna do it my way and do it now. Most teens, in general, have struggled with that forever. It just seems that in our present day culture, more and more adults are struggling with wanting to "break out." The answer is always on the other side of the fence, so to speak.

It's amazing to me how much the natural world corresponds to human nature. I look at my hens scrapping for food; I see my kids. I look at my dog salivating over the cats' bowl (which is next to his full bowl) and I see myself. I see myself coveting others' virtues and skills. Why can't I be more _______ like _______(fill in the blanks). I wish I could __________ like ______________. Why can't this child be more like so and so's child. On and on it goes.

There is definitely a place for heroes and emulation in our lives. We aspire to be gentle and kind, like Mother Theresa. We see the way a friend or sister nurtures her children, and we learn how to do the same. That is good. At the point that emulation becomes discouraging and covetous, that is NOT good! Do I really think I can be all things to anyone? Does not living up to my ideal make me a failure? Definitely not.

I was having a moment today when I felt so down on myself. The little message started to play in my head. You should have done this. He shouldn't be doing that. I need to ________. Why can't I just ________??!! Frustration , then that feeling of failure. Am I being too honest? I hope not. I went to my room and said a quick prayer, took five minutes to recollect, and came out to begin fresh.

So the answer to life's problems isn't breaking out; it's pulling in. Maybe we could learn more from the snail? Jesus,himself, went to a mountain top to pray. Well, my mountain top might have to be my bedroom, or the bench in my backyard! The point is, we need to find a quiet place to pray, reflect, and be still before we can give to others. So when the cup runs dry, do yourself a favor and get the spiritual drink you need!

(I am so blessed to find refreshment from this beautiful view in our back yard!)


Sam has been a real stinker lately. He cried for an hour yesterday because he couldn't find his pop gun. He has been quarrelsome with siblings....and...he's ....

.... well, he's just a sweet boy!!!

He really is. This morning he said I "had to come see something quick." "It's a Monarch chrysalis," he exclaimed excitedly. And sure enough, fastened to the stone wall, with the dew still fresh on it's shell, glimmered an exquisite chrysalis. A morning jewel:

So many times throughout the day, when I was annoyed or frustrated with one of the children I thought of my 'morning gift.' Not only was I gladdened to see a Monarch chrysalis, I was made happy by the thought of my children learning to love and appreciate nature as I do. I don't always know if what I'm doing with the children is having an effect, or even matters to them, until I am presented with such a gift as the chrysalis.

What we teach and love with our children always comes back to us. This is actually a rather sobering thought, as we know it works both ways! How many times have I heard one of the children snap at a brother or sister, only to hear myself? We don't have to be perfect with our children, but we need to be authentic. We need to worry less about 'getting it right,' and more about loving them every moment, right or wrong.

It is interesting having teenagers and babies at the same time. With my younger children I am not as concerned with forming perfect people as I was as a newer parent. When my teenagers were young, I was so concerned with "the right method," and how to 'discipline.' Not to say that the formation of children isn't a huge responsibility; it's just that, as the Bible says, "love covers a multitude of sins." Somehow teaching 'rightness' so easily becomes criticism and a lack of charity. To me this is such a sadness, because we only have our children's best interest at heart, yet the message we are sending them is one of condemnation rather than love.

Thank God for His mercy and allowing us to start fresh at any moment. Love,Love,Love my children...What is the loving thing to do? Sometimes the loving thing may be the hard thing- like helping a child break a bad habit, or giving a consequence for a poor choice. Sometimes the loving thing is an easy outpouring of love: a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement, a laugh shared together.

It IS possible to stop yelling at your children. I know this, because when my older children were young, I 'vented' much more often! (Poor older kids!) Not to say I never get upset anymore, but I have worked very hard and with God's grace have become a much calmer parent.
Maybe this would be a good topic to discuss in the comment section. We'll see where the interest goes!!

Any seasoned mothers, I would love your thoughts on parenting. What is the top piece of advice you would give to a young mother? Teachers...even women who have no children of their own, but are mothers to the countless children they have taught or loved...please share your advice, too!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What To Do?

I have blog here, on blogger, and my new blog over at wordpress. The problem is, I began a new blog because Blogger was giving me trouble, but now that we've switched computers, Blogger is working just fine. And to top it off, I am still getting more visitors here than I am at my new blog. So I suppose I will come back home and start posting on "Let Us Rejoice." It's silly, anyway, because it's the same stuff that goes on either's my indecision that gets in the way.

Check Out Emily's great new blog: Mish~Mash Dezine