A Lesson for Two in Obedience and Forgiveness

Carolyn was not happy that I went downstairs to put a load of laundry in the washer, but I went anyway. Sometimes she fusses the whole time I'm downstairs, sometimes she and I call back and forth to each other playfully, sometimes she amuses herself. This time she must have been feeling a bit vindictive.

It happens occasionally. Kevin or I remind Carolyn that she is not allowed to do something she is about to do, and she responds by immediately going through a series of prohibited activities. But if no one is here to hinder the series, she really only needs one. And the trash can, in front of the basement door, presented itself all too readily.

Unfortunately, the "clean" trash in the top of the can was covered in mostly-dry coffee grounds. So when I returned from my trip below, I found a toddler, a floor, and sundry garbage articles covered in black dust.

Before her name had even completely escaped, I remembered. "If you allow unholy anger to muddy the correction process, you are wrong. You need to ask forgiveness. Your right to discipline your children is tied to what God has called you to do, not your own agenda."* In order to discipline, I could not be angry. I had to be calm. By grace, God caught me just in time. I dusted Carolyn off and calmly took her to her bedroom.

Our discipline procedure ends with prayer for forgiveness, and we hold hands for that. Today, although Carolyn signed "I'm sorry" to me readily, she refused to hold my hands. I could have forced her, of course, but it seems that forcing the prayer that is supposed to close the issue leaves an unrepentant attitude woefully unaddressed. She hugged me over and over, but refused to pray with me. So I kept her on my lap until she was ready. I told her about God's love, about Christ's sacrifice, about sin and repentance and forgiveness. Before long, she reached for both my hands and waited. I prayed, and she cheerfully got down.

I then went to clean up the mess. Carolyn followed me. She would have helped if I had let her, but I didn't want her messy again. So she stood watching and saying, "no, no" over and over. I agreed and reminded her the trashcan was off-limits, thinking that would be the end of it. But she just stood there, "no, no" again and again until I said, "You're right, we don't play in the trash. But you said you were sorry and we prayed and you're forgiven, so we can start over." She gave an emphatic "yeah" and ran off to play, leaving me sweeping coffee grounds.

You could argue that I make too much of these things. Carolyn isn't quite 18 months, after all. But I know she understands so much more than she can say right now. Her physical responses, her expressions, her tone of voice--they are all right for the situation. I know her comprehension is limited. So is mine. "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."** She may not comprehend the finer doctrinal points of her sin and guilt, but she is learning the necessary response. And I am enormously, unspeakably grateful for her baby steps. . .and mine.

*Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp, chapter 4. He goes on later to quote James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." and comment "If you correct and discipline your children because God mandates it, then you need not clutter up the task with your anger. Correction is not your showing anger for their offenses; it is rather reminding them that their sinful behavior offends God. It is bringing His censure of sin to these subjects of His realm. He is the King. They must obey." and "If correction orbits around the parent who has been offended, then the focus will be venting anger or, perhaps, taking vengeance. The function is punitive. If, however, correction orbits around God as the one offended, then the focus is restoration. The function is remedial. It is designed to move a child who has disobeyed God back to the path of obedience. It is corrective."

**1 Corinthians 13:12



I can't completely relate to this yet (she has 4 kids to my single), but I get the feeling, and it made me laugh.


The Icicle of Icicles

It's hard to tell from a picture, but it looked as big around as I am, and those windows it's out-reaching are six feet long, not counting the space between the top of the window and the roof.

On Parental Authority

I've been reading Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp, and I thought I would share this quote.
As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child's life. You have the authority to act on behalf of God. As a father or mother, you do not exercise rule over your jurisdiction, but over God's. You act at His command. You discharge a duty that He has given. You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases Him.


Another Thing to Tuck Away

A post for mothers here.
The most awfully beautiful part of homeschooling is that I miss nothing. Day in and day out, I miss nothing. Perhaps that makes it all the more bittersweet to send a beloved child off on an adventure of their own? I don't know. But for me, the closeness begets a sense of comfort and joy that I hold on to, knowing that it's season is all too soon coming to an end.

I have made no mention of any of this to Jo. I think that sometimes the worst sin we can commit as mothers is to clip the wings of joy as they sprout in our children by saddling them with a bit of our own longing. Instead of holding her closer and whispering, "Come back to me safely. Don't be gone long," I smile at her as we stand side by side at the kitchen sink and say, "What an amazing adventure God has planned for you! I can feel it!" Instead of biting my lip and telling her how very empty my days will feel without her smile in the sea of faces around me, I kiss her forehead and let her know how delighted her father is to have her as a traveling companion.


Snow Totals

Now that the snow has almost ended, the reports are coming in. For us, it looks like roughly 20 inches in the past 30 hours--add that to our roughly 27 from the weekend, and we're looking at snow 4 feet deep!


Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow

If you didn't sing that title in your head, I'm sorry.

24.5", still snowing, and supposed to continue until almost midnight!


Baking with Carrots

By request, here are 2 of the recipes I used last weekend. I think that either of these could be made with half wheat flour (or with all wheat pastry flour), but I have not tried it yet. Also, for the buns, I think I would leave out the orange peel in the future. It's good for a BBQ sandwich, but might be a little strange in some things.

Carrot Muffins (from the King Arthur Flour company)

2 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 t ginger
3/4 t salt
1/3 c golden raisins
1/3 c diced walnuts
2 lg. eggs
3/4 c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c grated carrots, lightly packed

Whisk together all dry ingredients, including raisins and walnuts. Whisk together wet ingredients. Stir together. Fold in carrots. Bake in greased muffin cups for 20 minutes at 400. Cool in pan 5 min.

Cheese & Carrot Sandwich Buns (from Pillsbury)

1 c water
1 c milk
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 t.)
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 c finely shredded carrots
1/4 c Crisco
4 oz. shredded Cheddar (1 c)
1 t grated orange peel
1 egg
5 1/2-6 1/2 c flour

Heat water and milk to 100-110 degrees. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 t. of the sugar in warm liquid. Stir in remaining sugar, salt, carrots, shortening, cheese, orange peel, and egg; mix well. Add 3 c flour. Blend on low until moistened, then beat 3 minutes on medium. By hand, stir in 2 to 2 1/2 c flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl. Knead in remaining flour until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (will be soft and slightly sticky). Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely. Let rise in warm place until doubled, 45-60 min.

Punch down dough several times. Divide into 18 pieces. Shape into balls, then flatten slightly on greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake 13-18 minutes at 375, until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets immediately.