Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rebellious Spirit Strikes Again

It's amazing to me how many wasy our human natures like to rebel. When most of us think of rebellion, we think of aggression, defiance, and other out-and-out forms of the beast.
The one that seems to trip me up the most is the one that sneaks up on me. After many years as a Christ follower, bold-faced aggression and defiance rarely show up on the outer face of my person (I think). What seems to show up more is not so much an attitude that rebels against things (ie circumstances, chores etc), but a type of rebellion that is a lack of pushing forward, a giving in to the preference of the moment, a type of rebellion that favors me and my convenience more than necessary discipline or the overall well-being of the family.
For example, my dear hubby and I were out of town this past Tuesday on an all day errand and my parents had the children for the day. As chief cook and bottle washer, I should have planned and brought sufficient food for the day, to save us eating out. But, I didn't have "time" enough to prepare something, and have it ready in the morning. How convenient. Guess we have to stop somewhere...My natural person preferring to eat out, my lazy self not wanting to force myself to adjust things to allow for the time to do what I should do, but just an overall attitude of unwillingness to "suffer" inconvenience for my family.
I struggle all the time with this. And in a lot of ways, it's been harder to say no to myself since the finances have been less tight. It's easy for gentle self-pity to sink in--just enough to feel that this or that expenditure is "justified". The feeling of being behind in the housework all the time, and yet never quite willing to change my routine enough to improve things. The tiredness of cooking all the time, and the weariness of what to cook, and getting sick of the same things over and over. And the subsequent laziness in planning, and hence a bit more spending than should be necessary.
The desire to whine and complain about not having time to do this or that, and how the children make everything so much more difficult, but not the self-discipline to be thankful for those children, and to not let inconvenience hinder what I should be doing for the whole family's benefit.
Does this match anyone else's experience in life and mothering? And heaven sakes, forget it when I'm pregnant or have a newborn in the house!! The word self-discipline exits my vocabulary...then I'm too tired, or too worn out, or the baby this or the baby that...excuses forever...
Any suggestions??

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Never Thought I Would Eat a Bran Muffin...

The other day I got a horrid craving for bran muffins. You know, the ones from the recipe on the side of the 100% Bran cereal box?? My mom used to make them when I was a kid, and I haven't had one in years. Well, since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I thought I'd never be able to have another!!
So the other night I remembered there was a recipe for Oat Bran muffins on the side of the Quaker Oat Bran hot cereal box(though I buy it wholesale--not Quaker-I'm too cheap). So I set out to create a yummy gluten-free bran muffin, and it worked!!
So here is my wheat-free muffin recipe(note that some people are too sensitve to oats to eat them, and could possibly use rice bran).
3/4 cp oat bran
1 cp milk, scalded
2 eggs
1/3 cp oil
1 cp gf flour mix(I like cornstarch, white rice flour, and a touch of cornmeal)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cp brown sugar, rounded
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp xanthan gum(slightly rounded)

Heat oven to 375*. Scald milk and pour hot over the oat bran in a large mixing bowl. Let set five minutes while you grease the muffin cups. Add the sugar, eggs and oil to the cereal mix, stir til mixed. In smaller bowl measure rest of ingredients, and mix dry,(to blend the xanthan gum). Dump into wet mix and stir til thoroughly mixed, but only just.
Scoop into mufin cups and bake for about 15-20 min til browned and slightly puffed.
Note: They are also delicious if you mix up a crumble topping and sprinkle over each muffin.(like brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, bread crumbs, flour, cut together)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Note On the Last Post

Did I mention that if you research this phenomenon a little bit, with families all over the industrialized world shrinking, there is actually some concern that as the older populations age and need more care, there will be a shrinking workforce of chidlren and young adults to pick up the tab?? Vision Forum has a book in their catalogue called Demograpic Winter. It deals with this topic. So eventually, all of our parents will need help and aid, and there won't be enough of us to care for them all!!
And meanwhile, the Muslim poplulations(who have large families) will outnumber us probably 3 to 1, or more.
Just something to think about. Besides, when you get older, wouldn't it be more of a blessing to your children if there are several to share in your care?? Not to mention how much more cheerful and lively to have several households of grandchildren to visit!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Myth of Over-population

I encountered this idea in college a lot. Whenever I said I wanted to have a larger than average family, (4+), many people, usually professors, always tried to argue me into the "world is overpopulated" myth. They seemed to think it was selfish of me to bring more people into this world than just enough to replace my husband and I. That so many people would unfairly suck up too many natural resources.
I always tried to express my desire to be frugal, and not live in excess. They didn't seem to see the connection.
I mean think about it--you want to point a finger at someone who has several children for using too many resources that other people could be using. Well, if that family is extremely extravagant and wasteful, perhaps that is justified (maybe). However, what about celebrities like Tom Cruise(sp?--sorry, I don't follow Hollywood that much), who own massive, excessive mansions, and employ all kinds of household and grounds help?? It seems to me that people with several children are frequently lambasted in this way, and yet no one seems to apply the same principal to people who just live in wasteful extravagant ways, who have few or no children. My ceramics prof and I used to argue about this a lot. He wasn't married and had no children, yet lived in a large three bedroom house, all by himself. Is that not wasteful?? Could he not find something more suitable to his meager needs as a bachelor??
You take even the Duggar family. I know they have recently built a very large house that has lots of amenities that many of us don't have. However, when you check out their family website, the boys and girls don't all have their own rooms--they share rooms. They share closets. They cook their own food. Yes, their house is lovely, and very large, but they also share all the work, and probably all contribute to the household in some way. I would imagine that if you looked at the same number of children spread over several American households, there would be more spent total on those children, than all those children in the Duggar household. Also, they have waited and waited and saved and saved and it took years for them to build this big beautiful house. Remember, they do have grown children!!
Yes, my own family is growing. Yes, I would love to have a larger house--someday. I would love to have a spread of property for us to work on, play on, and grow on. But I guarantee that we will do it incrementally, and as frugally as possible. You don't spend the first seven years of marriage getting out of debt, only to pile it back on aimlessly!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What is Your Legacy?

Have you ever tried to imagine what life will be like in forty or fifty years?? That should the Good Lord allow you be alive that many years hence, what your circumstances will be?? If you are married, you and your spouse will have been together nearly a half-century. If you have children, they will be grown with spouses and children of their own, and perhaps grandchildren too. There will be years of illness, years of prosperity (we all hope), years of loss, of gain, years of closeness, and years of distance. What might it be like to look back on the period of life you are now in?? Perhaps with little children at home, or teenagers. Or maybe you are simply married, and still just together--the two of you.
We like to look back at our ancestors(at least I do), and look at their courage over the course of their lives. Many of our ancestors endured great hardship. Most of them lived through wars, famine, financial depressions worse than most of us have ever known. Many husbands and wives saw the death of their own children--more than most of us do today.
Do you think that when they were enduring through those difficult times they thought they were doing anything special?? That for a scared wife to follow her husband into the wilderness to build a home, raise a family, and carve an existence out of nothing--do you think she felt courageous?? I would imagine not. Many of our ancestors probably felt a lot of the same things we do--fear, discouragement, isolation, perhaps even bitterness and anger--and probably a lot of exhaustion. Yet many of them persevered, had their families, watched many of their children grow up, and became grandparents, and great-grandparents.
When times of uncertainty come(and they will!) I wonder if it would help to realize that one hundred years from now when our great-great grandchildren are looking at pictures of Great Granny Laura, and remembering what she was like, what will be important to them is that Granny stuck it out. That Granny made do, that she believed in the Great God who is the giver and taker of life, that she went with the flow and persevered through good times and hard times, that she wasn't a pouter when things didn't go her way. That Granny could laugh--at life, at herself, and not take things too seriously. That Granny worked hard--caring for those in her shelter. All the things that now my natural self struggles to do--or do happily. All the things that I admire in the people that came before me. Yet somehow I imagine it was easier for them and harder for me. Easier for them to be brave, patient, long-suffering, hard-working, content with their circumstance, whether high or low.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous Frenchman who wrote extensively about his perception of America back in the early 1800s(I think), wrote about how well American women adapted through the course of their lives. That due to the newness of this country, and all it's ups and downs a woman never knew how long she may be in prosperity. But he observed that so many women seemed to go with the flow. When things were proesperous, she lived well, when things became tight or desperate, she simply adjusted habits, and made do, waiting for the swing back into prosperity--no whining, no complaining, just made do.
When I have a lifetime to look back on, I want to see in my own memories that I persevered. I want to see in me now the development of character that my children and grandchildren will look back on and say,"Gee nana--times must have been really hard--how did you do it??" And I want to be able to say, one day at a time, and by the grace of our Heavenly Father.
So the next time your life seems hard, or unfair, or uncertain, remember those future generations and decide what kind of legacy you will leave them. Will they remember you as a pillar of faith, and a bastion of strength, resourcefulness, and perseverence?? Or will you be remembered as the one who was "high strung", or "sensitive", and seemed to blow over with every wind that came your way?? The choice is ours.

My Thoughts on Unicef

I have been following the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake on Doug Phillips' blog, through Vision Forum. Doug and his team are working to try and aid the orphans within their reach, who have all since been condemned to starvation, dehydration, and possibly death at the hands of Unicef(the UN chapter at work in Haiti). Apparently they are claiming that the outpouring of compassion and the desire to adopt orphans out of Haiti in this time of disaster will result in the s*xual or labor trafficking of these children. So all adoptions have been pretty much stopped. It sounds nice to the ears--of course children shouldn't be sold into slavery for any reason. But due to the limited resources that will stay very limited for quite some time, they are sentencing many of these children to die.
Understand that Unicef has very liberal ideas on abortion, infanticide, and whether or not they would admit it, eugenics--you know, genetic preferences for the strong and able and no preferences for the weak and suffering. Remember, this is the same group of people that frequently hold the opinion that there are too many people in the world anyway, so who cares if a few hundred thousand die--especially when they are the poorest of poor--the least of these. You think the hold on adoptions has to do with compassion and keeping children out of s*x trafficking?? I don't think so. I think they have very specific agendas about this and are allowing the deaths on purpose.
And even if one out of every five hundred children somehow did end up in sex trafficking, (and there is no evidence that that would happen) that is still 499 children who could be cared for and given a home, love and a future. By closing the borders, you could be sentencing half of those same five hundred children to death. Obviously, I am not sanctioning any trafficking, and even one child caught in s*x slavery is a horrific occurence. But the alternatives are even grimmer--if you were a Haitian mother, with three or four children during this time, and knew that your ability to provide for them was pretty much non-existent, would you want to wait day after day, watching your children cry, become sick, and perhaps die, not able to do anything to save them?? Or would you be willing to put them into the hands of people who would do their utmost to place them in good homes where they would be loved and cared for?? Don't be fooled.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What things are happening...

Life is so unpredictable. Just when you think things are settling down to a degree of permenance, the Lord changes your circumstances to see if you are still depending on Him, or whether you have started depending on the job, the schedule, the money, etc.
Curious?? Well, my husband got notice this week that the entire facility in Harrison Valley will be closing down as of April 9. All eighty-odd employees there will be out of work, and insurance by the end of that month. My dear husband says he had felt it in the air and knew that something was coming, just our heavenly Father preparing him...
So, we are busily (not frantically) putting together resumes, cover letters, and keeping eyes and ears open for any possiblity of work for him--especially work that would provide benefits for me (for the baby coming).
There is a possibility that he could be selected for some other position open elsewhere, as the company has promised that any willing to relocate would be given first dibs on jobs in other locations, but for as many that have lost their jobs, the few openings that there might be would not span to all of them.
I simply write to let you all know, as we could very well be moving sometime in the next two months--or at the very least, things could very well change in lots of ways--finances, schedules, location etc.
Please pray for us. However, this does come at a time when we have wondered what we should be doing, and whether any changes should be made. The Lord doesn't allow us to be indecisive. He comes in a makes the decision for us.