January 27, 2015

A Fine Parent Post

I am honored to be a contributor over at A Fine Parent this month!  This community is a great group of parents who are actively seeking to raise their children in a positive atmosphere.

I have learned so much through the discussions in this community - and I think you will too!

Please head over and visit my recent post and leave a comment.  I'd love to know what you think about my views on raising kids with character and character education in general!

January 13, 2015

Fear and Parenting

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” —Oswald Chambers

I really could sum up this my entire parenting career with that quote... but I'll delve a bit deeper.  

Have you ever thought about fear being linked to disobedience?  And how does discouragement fit in?  

Let's look at some definitions that might not be in Websters:
Fear:  A lack of trust in God
Disobedience:  Not following God's will and commands for our lives
Discouragement: Being deprived of courage or confidence

What are your thoughts on these definitions?

Children's fears and adult fears are almost always centered around the same thing, fear of the unknown.  For little ones, this is usually monsters or trying new things.  For adults, we often focus on fears for our children, for our security and for our future.  But, how many of these fears would be diminished if you stopped looking for an answer within yourself and started to rely on God?

I'm a control freak, so I'm not saying this is easy.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back and see how God has blessed my life by not letting it go according to my plan.  But, even with that compelling evidence, I don't let go completely.

For me, a life free of fear means a life lived in obedience to God.  We've talked about obedience before and why we need God's grace.  Notice the similarity in these two verses:

"How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to Your word." Psalm 119:10 

"The Lord is my light and salvation.  Whom shall I fear?"  Psalm 27:1

And a third verse, just in case you are feeling discouraged and need to know where to go for help:

"I lift my eyes up to the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help come from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:1-2 

The answer is God.  It's always God. Following His commands, being ingrained in His word and trusting in His truths.  The best way for your children to learn to combat these three sins is to show trust in the Lord through your actions?

- How often do they see you pray?
- Do you talk to them about answered prayer?
- Do you talk to them about seeking God's will for your life and theirs?
- Do you demonstrate trust in God by tithing and living according to his commands?
- Do they see you read the Bible?

- Do you let them see you struggle, and tell them you go to the Lord for help?

Parenting is a tough gig and we have to be prepared.  I find so much comfort in knowing that God prepared me for this task long before I accepted it - I just have to remember to keep going back to HIM for the help I need!

January 12, 2015

Gluten Free Chicken Spaghetti

The chicken spaghetti I grew up on was full of Velveeta and canned soup. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one to shy away from a Velveeta indulgence, but I like to save that splurge for queso - thank you very much. 
This chicken spaghetti has none of that. It's completely homemade, and simple. We make ours gluten free by changing out the pasta and the flour, but you could always do it with "regular" ingredients as well. 
First, it's time to chop the veggies!
Anna has been in the kitchen with me since the start of forever, so I let her handle some pretty heavy lifting in the kitchen. She chops with a real knife and works at the stove. I understand this is not appropriate for all 6 year-olds. In fact, I wouldn't let my 8-year-old man a stove. It all depends on the child's interest and their ability to stay on task. 
Back to cooking...

Start by boiling your pasta. In a separate pan, begin sautéing your veggies in butter. We used mushrooms, celery, onions and yellow peppers. Once they have softened, add about a tablespoon of flour. Stir, then pour in about a cup-and-a-half of whole milk. Continue to stir to form a thick sauce. 
By now your pasta should be ready to go! Drain, and then stir together the pasta and sauce and add your shredded chicken. Place mixture into a Pyrex dish and, since it is against the law to now top a casserole with cheese in the south, throw some cheese on top!

1.5 cups cooked, shredded chicken1 bag of gluten-free pasta1tbs gluten-free flour blend1 tsp salt1/2 cup celery2 mini bell peppers1 cup mushrooms1/4 cup onions4 tbs butterCheese for topping