Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A few thoughts from and about this book, that I think are golden:
'Self-esteem and strong self-belief are, indeed, valuable attributes, but their value is undermined if they come at the expense of sound self-knowledge(because he's told he's wonderful at everything), sound friendships (because friends are put off by his resulting bossiness and arrogance), and determination and perseverance ( because he has never had to face and overcome setbacks).' For the soul who can't let go of the term 'self-esteem' these are the exact thing that self-esteem does. But I think the author realizes this even if he doesn't see the flaw in the term. Reverse the words – esteem self. Do you see the dilemma with this virtue? It's not really a virtue from a Biblical perspective.
But that being said, the author shares terms and suggestions for ways to praise well. The first terms to consider & focus on to more clearly and effectively communicate with our children our desires for their hearts and actions. Terms for focusing 'on the varied, deeper purposes of praise beyond the obvious ones: affirm, appreciate, approve, admire, attend, anticipate, achieve, acknowledge, be aware and alert, and aspiration.' That's the first 10. These terms are meant to describe ways to effectively think and refine our praise to speak to a boys hearing. An example that sets this book apart in my mind is the definition & explanation he shares of admiration. His clear differentiation of hollow pedestal placing void praise versus Godly type care & admiration. Admiration because he is mine, my child. Love because he is my child, not earning my affection & admiration because he did something well. This may seem obvious, but to a parent who is trying to teach a child in this world's moral climate, one may fall into bad habits of withholding loving, admiration & affection. It can seem so important to share that which will mold their minds, it can become overwhelming to a mom with rambunctious boys. Do they still not need admiration? I think so. Every person does. Not excessive adoration, but appropriate admiration.
While discussing the purpose of praise the writer also shares a wonderful suggestion of keeping these areas of communication in 'terms of time zones.'
'It is useful to consider praise in terms of time zones. Although each encounter and incident is in the present, a key purpose of praise- and of support and encouragement—is to help our boys feel optimistic about their future, comfortable with the route they have traveled from the past, and content with the present. When we encourage them, our focus is on the future: We try to convince any boy in our care he will overcome any current difficulty to be successful herafter. We therefore generate faith, hope, and confidence and give him heart. When we clearly enjoy his company and his achievements, we indicate our happiness and pleasure with who he is, in the present moment.'
I carefully consider post-modern psychology, and seldom throw out a book, or person to consider, but I've had to do some home-work in an area of my personal weakness. While reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, I've had to answer questions about the strengths of each family member, and ways to help them feel appreciated and loved. This book I believe, Praising Boys Well, will help me become better at appreciating & and affirming my love & confidence in them, as they choose , not perfectly but in this youthful season of learning & growing, to choose to follow godly principles & virtues.
Keeping a balance, a Godly approach to parenting, can be found in both determining what we don't want and being very specific about what we do want. Sometimes looking for ways to effectively communicate that which we have in our hearts can be the missing tool.
'A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.'
Monday, March 22, 2010
'20 Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkeness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You.'
Daniel is known for his prayer life. Daniel's trust is
demonstrated by his lifestyle. He hasn't lost sight of who is really in control of what will happen in the future.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I'm continuing in my effort for options for better food for our family. We continue
to eat whole wheat bread from Our Daily Bread because I'm just not in a place to make it right now.
But I came upon this article about breads. The title attracted me because it said it was easy. I'm still not sure these are top quality (no offense) because they are not entirely whole wheat. But for now I may try to adapt the recipe because of their simple process to make. I'm also going to try that recipe Rachel sent me for the bread she's using.
Photo: Mother Earth News
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
The Blogging Bee At Homestead Revival gave me pause to think -- had I learned anything this week that was thrifty or organic in any way? Well, I have a few thoughts on food, but this week was more of a do it yourself decorating weekend. I was inspired by The Nester to reconsider my hard pressed contentment with the color of this chair. I love the fabric, I loved the price when I bought the set ($85 down from $150 on craigslist.com) but I do not love the color. It's too cold, burgandy-ish. I would love a warmer color of red or a big buffalo black check.
This chair joined our family at Christmas when we needed a little extra seating in our home in Georgia.(long story soon to follow.)
It was calling me at $16 saying 'I'm blue check & relatively clean... take me home....'. How could I walk away? Now it sits in my bedroom, waiting it's future home. The ottoman goes with a pair of wicker chairs that reside in my living room, but don't have adequate space for the ottoman.
Both of these chairs are my idea of fixer-uppers in the upholstery world. I had a career in interior design & we seldom 'did our own', but I operate on a whole 'nuther budget than most of our clients. So I still stick to the favored method of glean as you go, and when it all comes together, fabric, time & chair -- go for it. Now I've found a great tutorial so I think its time to jump into this project.
My last picture is a sort of before(still looking for this picture) & after. But I just had to show you. This is where we've been doing our bird count. I bought this about 5 years before Eric & met, and it's been painted so many times, well, I've lost count. It has no name, it's too simple for a 'buffet', 'cabinet' just doesn't flow, ? China cabinet... ? please, there's been no china on this since 3 months after we married, and the wedding gifts were safely stored. I painted any surface with chalk board paint, and left our growth chart on the sides where we've marked it. (If you move you still have to chart these permanently somewhere.) But for now it stores playdough and a small do-dad cabinet the boys enjoy storing little things. I enjoy having a little extra storage space for cereal bowls & coffee mugs. Our cd's are also stored here with our 'hi-fi' system.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sally Clarkson is the author of the book 'Educating the Wholehearted Child' among many others.
I visited her blog this morning and found an excellent article about imagination in children & reasons for play. No surprise television is a part of the discussion. (Again, I'm carefully limiting my book purchases this year, but this one is on the way.)
About twice a year, I take the tv out of the room. I clear it out, I fantasize about smashing. I say it outloud. I read books like 'Bringing up Boy's' who advocate it, knowing what little there is good on it. But I find this last for a while, even months, before we find it's illumination filling our time.
And a quick by the way, I appreciate comments that mention parenting from a position of authority in early childhood, and more from a position of influence, from Amy @ Homestead Revival. And Thy Hand's comments about the perpetual revolving door.
I mentioned in this post, that Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys, mentions the landslide of influence on our family's and children. In Chapter 14, titled Predators, an article is included written by Ellen Goodman, a secular writer for the Boston Globe/Washington Post, copywrited in 2000. It describes why parents who are often perceived as overly concerned about media or influences in the community shouldn't back down.
..." Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a researach associate at the Institute for
American values, found this out in interviews with middle-class parents. " A common complaint I heard from parents was their sense of being overwhelmed by the culture. they felt relatively more helpless than their parents."
' "Parents," she notes, "see themselves in a struggle for the hearts and
minds of their own children." It isn't that they can't say no. It's that
there's so much more to say no to." '
"Without wallowing in false nostalgia, there has been a fundamental shift.
Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition."
Dobson goes on to write 'It's why parents feel more isolated.'
Ouch. Isn't that the truth. It automatically puts you at odds, when you step out of the mainstream, so not to be swept away. And being at odds or doing 'it'(life) differently can be a little lonely sometimes. Whether it's food, clothes, entertainment, worship...
But it's in those lonely times, the quiet, silent times, that meditation, not the emptying of the mind in a zen like experience, but the quietness that allows the filling of the mind with the Creator's original hope: to hear Him. Ann describes at A Holy Experience, how we live more reactively when we are constantly in the presence of noise. When you are accustomed to noise, & your children are accustomed to noise, it can be a tough transition. But one well worth it. It's where real strength to fight the current is found. Yes, reading all the books that support the family & wholesomeness are great learning tools, but in grounding our walk with Him is where we find the fortitude & reason to go to all the effort. Grounding ourselves so that when we suffer loneliness or weakness, we'll perservere, and continue to build character which leads to something hoped for that doesn't disappoint.
verse 6, '... when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.'
Thanks be to God for silent moments. And a Hope that doesn't disappoint.
Visit A Holy Experience for more thoughts on the spiritual practice of silence.
This is an excellent link to visit. Those who contribute also have much to offer. Every Wednesday there are those who gather to share their thoughts helping them grow closer to God.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Some years ago, my Dad handed me this book. It was one I'll never part with. It is a beautiful love story, with history from the same wild state as the Iditarod --Alaska.
If I ever travel to Alaska, I'll go to Chicken. I'll look for the places in this book. The warm firebox style homes that nurtured souls in such a barren land. And hope that I happen upon a storyteller who knew Ann Hobbs.
We've also read 'The Great Serum Race'
an excellent, but less complicated version of the origin of the Iditarod. We are following the race using eIditarod and have chosen our musher, a rookie, 'Middie' Johnson #35, grandson of Henry Ivanoff, who handed the serum package to Leonhard Seppala. Seppala mushed twice as long as any other sled team in this amazing story. Seppala's dog Togo is the star of this book, and it tells what really happened and why Balto is more well known.
We are rooting for an Alaskan, and hoping genetics plays to our odds! Go Middie!
By the way, I heard that you can view the race somewhat through google earth. Hope it's not a wilderness legend...
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Jack has been listening to this series on CD, and really enjoying it. (We just finished The Treasure of Green Knowe )I have listened while we're in the car, and sometimes in our kitchen, and enjoyed the simplicity and wholesomeness. The reader has a wonderful voice presence and the story generates creative play. It is reminiscent of The Secret Garden, and many of the books that involve siblings who create the story for a unique house, such as the children in the Narnia series(not to understate the excellence of Narnia books.) The animals & relation to nature in the book is just enough to engage my young boy, to stimulate outdoor play, incorporating the characters such as Tolly & Linnet in his own stories.
There are characters in the book that are 'from the past', that could be called ghosts, however, they aren't called ghosts. Tolly, the lead character, is not in the least scared,-- this is not a scary story. These children become friends with Tolly, and the adventures at Green Knowe begin. Tolly has come to live here through loss, but discovers a family who gives him a sense of place & home.
There is an enormous amount of reference to the creatures & natural surroundings. Birds, bugs & all sorts of critters.
The vocabulary is stimulating and the prose a cut above. It is an enjoyable read/listen for kids and adults alike.
My use of the CD's are mostly for diversity in language & vocabulary. Also for the imaginary play. The sheer enjoyment factor. I'm not ready to call this 'excellent' literature, (I still haven't read 'Roxaboxen'.) Comparitively the main character lends a view into how one might entertain & spend days if there were no parents to guide, similar in ways to 'The Secret Garden'. Little Mary Lenox, certainly needed a dose of parenting, but historically that didn't always happen. She was sassy, smart mouthed, and had been allowed arrogance to be her leading character trait. Tolly lends another, gentler manner to the child who must fend for his personal growth & character.
There are all sorts of references to kindnesses to siblings, teaching & caring for each other. I really enjoy that.
I would have written a better description of this book, shared more quotes, but I only checked out the Cd's. Yet another reason to actually read the hardcopy book. I love books.
In a comparison of simply entertaining media- actually having a child request stopping by the library to get the next set of Cd's-- Jack is always up for one of the 'Cowboy Dog' series, which I have begun to refuse.
(Homeschool Dawn shared an excellent review about Hank the Cowdog at her site)
The last Cowboy Dog Cd had a song which was titled 'Be a Winner'. It was full of catchy tongue & cheek phrases which I heard for the next few days. Most of the song suggested sportsmanship was over rated & cheating was ok, as long as you won. I know the writer did not intend for the sentiment to be what the child chants in the car, house or school, but he did, & I didn't like it.
So, 'Cowboy Dog' is off our listening/reading list. I'm all for chanting something far more noble.
Take-away- not a classic in our books yet, but seriously good food for imagination and exposure to nature as a daily part of life.
Related Post #1
Related Post #2
Counting & remembering with reverence Who gives these Gifts.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
But I did buy 'In Defense of Food', by Michael Pollan. Not surprised by it's content, but encouraged someone put it in such simple, readable terms.
From page 39, " Yet as a general rule it's a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot, with the perverse result that the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over in Cereal the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound "whole-grain goodness" to the rafters. Watch out for those health claims."
I couldn't agree more.
My pet peeve food rule (that fluctuates in practice as required) - is mentioned under the heading 'Don't eat anything your Great-Grandmother wouldn't recognize as a food.' page 149.
He mentions 'There are many reasons to avoid eating such complicated food products beyond the various chemical additives and corn and soy derivatives they contain. One of the problems with the products of food science is that , as Joan Gussow has pointed out, they lie to your body: their artificial colors and flavors and synthetic sweeteners and novel fats confound the sense we rely on to assess new foods and prepare our bodies to deal with them. Foods that lie leave us with little choice but to eat by the numbers, consulting labels rather than our senses.'
Perhaps this is a little more theoretical than good mantra. But it takes away my ownership of what I put in my body. Unfortunately I'm addicted to the compositions & concoctions produced by the major food players in the industry. I've become sensitive to the unbelievable contradiction between my food conscience and my palate, but in the heat of the moment, all reason goes out the window. The heat of the moment may be in a social setting, or at home when no one is looking. But that moment comes. Usually stress induced.
I'm talking Zingers, Kashi Blueberry Cereal, Coca-cola, Pancake Mix, Food cheese Product, Salsa Verde, to name a few. And of course the Tostitos to eat the Salsa Verde.
But as I read yesterday, this is about 40 years of training a finely tuned palate. I can certainly enjoy a refreshing vegetable, fruit, or other whole food. I have begun to train my palate to be tuned into the nuances of whole foods as well as organic or true-free-range products.
But that doesn't mean the battle is won. There are the family to think about, whose palattes and emotional eating habits are also well trained. No blame here, but I'm the one doing the shopping. I'm the one guiding the Food Journey. I can and have dumped bad habits before.
So I press on. Reading and working on patience. Planning & avoiding, and trying the new choices, making them the preference.
2.Cultural foods are not always...mmm.. shall we say 'high quality'. I'll be careful here, but to some these are just mud-bugs. After watching 'Food Inc.' & reading 'In Defense of Food', I've been reminded about some of the less palatable facts about food. But isn't he cute? The kid, I mean....