Thursday, December 30, 2010

Raising Sons to be God-Honoring Men

"You must become what you want your child to become, if you would bring him to repentance.
You must become a person of joy, peace and love.
You must know God and love Him.
You must be disciplined and holy in your own personal life.
You must tend to your marriage so that it becomes the envy of all who know you well."
This made me realize that if I want to raise rude kids then all I have to do is be rude.
If I want to raise complainers, then I have to complain.
If I want to raise ungrateful brats, then I have to be ungrateful.
If I want to raise good mothers and wives, then I have to be one.
If I want to raise good fathers and husbands, then I have to be one.
If I want to raise kids that love God and obey Him with all their hearts, then I have to do it first." 

As I read this statement by Michael Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries, it reallly struck a chord with me. 

There's so much truth here.
Children will mimic what they see....& will act how as you allow them to act.
My response to people to ask us questions about upbringing & child-rearing is this: 
we may make different decisions than most, but we're wanting different results than most!
We know people wonder why we don't allow our sons to 'run around or hang out' with various church youth groups, neighborhood acquaintances, or even certain family members.
We are very selective with who we allow to influence our sons.
We realize that every person we allow them to spend time with will either support or tear down this foundation we are working to build.
With the help of our loving Father, here's what we're attempting to do:
We are working hard to raise upstanding young men who love the Lord, love & respect their parents {& each other}, who are responsible & aren't afraid to work.

We are teaching them to honor their grandparents, the elderly & those in authority over them.

We want them to be productive ... & do more with their day than play video games.
We want them to love to read, seek knowledge & be able to hold an intelligent conversation.
We expect them to help out around the house & realize that as a family, it takes each of us working together to make our family work!
They have to complete their assigned chores & keep their room/things organized & tidy.
{Someday their respective wives will thank us.}
 I've said plenty of times, there will be no slobs coming out of this house;)
Not only does this teach responsibility now, it will help them someday when they will be the provider of their own home.
We want them to see the value of hard work & feel the pride of accomplishment with a job well-done.
We are teaching them the importance of God's Word.
Their father leads our family worship every day, instructing & guiding us, as the head of our home.
What an awesome leader they have in him...
a model of Biblical manhood lived out before them everyday.
Our fervent heart's cry is to seek first the kingdom of God as we are raising up our sons.
Do we do everything right as parents?  No.
We are in need of God's grace each & every day.
Our goal is to look back & know that we redeemed the time we were given during these impressionable, formative years....
that we poured into our sons the ingredients to help them grow into God-honoring men.
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  Psa. 127: 3-5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

We tried a new recipe today:  Iced Pumpkin Cookies. 
Not only were they very tasty, they couldn't be simpler to make!

Ingredients are as follows:

1 box spice cake mix
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tub prepared icing

optional:  1/2 c. raisins &/or 1/2 c. walnuts

**I did not have a spice cake mix, so I substituted a carrot cake.
    It worked perfectly.

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together all ingredients til well blended.  Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheets;  press down cookie batter w/fork (if desired).
Bake 10-12 mins.

After completely cooled, ice cookies w/ buttercream or cream cheese icing.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Practicing Hospitality

Ever gone to bed feeling stressed, too much on your mind, almost guaranteeing a night of unrest & a not-so-chipper morning?
This was me last night.
I headed upstairs feeling exactly that...
stressed at the upcoming activities & the general busyness of the season....& in a matter of minutes, I literally had a headache.

I am not one to 'stress out' too often, generally keeping things in perspective, for the most part;)
But, it's not everyday that your 'babies' are turning 16!

Last night, we were attempting to come up with a 'count' for the upcoming birthday party {Saturday} & I became overwhelmed at the number of people that will be in our home!!
We've hosted a variety of events studies, teaching sessions, girl's night out groups, parties of all kinds...but never with a group quite as large as this 16th birthday party for our sons!

Of course, I'd like everything to be just 'right.'
I want our sons to have a memorable party & our guests to have a good time, enjoying food & fellowship.
As I begin to ponder the plan for the week & the necessary schedule to carry out this plan, I started feeling overwhelmed.

But, in His usual fashion, my heavenly Father began working on my behalf almost instantly.
Before going to bed, I read a few pages from "The Hospitality Commands" by Alexander Strauch.
I turned right to a paragraph explaining how hospitality is a form of giving and how  "God loves a cheerful giver."  {2 Cor. 9:7}
It went on to say that being hospitable is a down-to-earth test of our love for God & his is love in action.
It is the flesh & muscle on the bones of love.

How rich is that passage?
I felt God reminding me that even though we are hosting a birthday party, celebrating the lives of the 2 wonderful gifts we got for Christmas almost 16 yrs ago, we can {& should} still practice hospitality!
While our friends & family are coming to show their love for our precious sons, this is also an opportunity for us to bless all who come through our doors with a warm place to spend the evening, food to fill their bellies, & fellowship to fill their hearts.

And that was on my mind when I went to sleep.
God is so mindful of me that he directed me to something that would change my outlook & dispel my worries.
After a restful night's sleep, I awoke this morning with my mindset focused on 'EVERYTHING as unto the Lord.'
Whether I'm baking cookies, wrapping Christmas gifts, cleaning my home, or preparing for a birthday party, I will do it all as unto the Lord.

How easily we become distracted, especially during this Christmas season.
We worry more than we worship.
We hurry through this blessed time more than we enjoy the true meaning of it all.
It's amazing what a few minutes alone with God can do to renew your spirit.

I am so thankful for the mercies that He makes new every morning!
I am so thankful for the reminder to live today & every day so that HE gets the glory.
For He alone is worthy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celebrating James' Birthday

What a wonderful husband I have!
If I listed all his amazing qualities, well, it'd be a looong list.

The birthday boy & birthday burger!

I recently heard about a little historic restaurant in Columbus & decided that would be the perfect place to take him {as a surprise} for his 38th birthday!
I didn't tell him where we were headed, just that we were all going to dinner.
James is a history buff...well, we all from everything I'd heard, I knew we were going to enjoy this place!

Well, let me tell you, Zaharako's {in Columbus} was as great as everyone said it would be!
We absolutely loved it.
It was literally like taking a step back in time.
It was decorated for Christmas & was a sight to behold!

Zaharako's Ice Cream Parlor & Museum originally opened on October 20, 1900!!
In the museum, there are many photos taken throughout the years.
It was so interesting to see the very same marble counter filled with customers being waited on by the soda jerks.
The menu had a list of the 'lingo' used back then when placing your soda & ice cream orders.
We had a good time with those while we were waiting on our food.

The museum is home to several antique marble soda fact, it's the largest collection of pre-1900 fountains on public display.

In 1908, the Zaharako family added a Welte orchestrion {self-playing organ} to the shop & it remains there still to this day.
We were delighted to hear it just before we left.

Our sons, in the museum, sitting at this spectacular counter/bar.

Checking out the candy~

We enjoyed having Carissa join us for the evening.

Zaharako's was named one the top 20 historic places in the USA to visit by National Geographic.
We wondered how we hadn't heard about this wonderful little place til now, especially seeing as it's only a 30 minute drive.
We can't wait to go back this summer & enjoy another dip of the homemade ice cream & a fountain chocolate coke!