Friday, August 26, 2011

Look at the beautiful flower I grew! (not so much)

Lovely, isn't it? Yes, but you should know, this beauty came about because I spilled a bag of bird seed on a graveled spot in front of our house.

It's funny to me that this came up by accident, but my garden that I spent lots of time and money on did not do so well. Proof, if you ask me, that I should stick to sewing and cooking!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting Some Perspective...Once Again.

Losing sight of the goal in parenting can really make you feel despair. I had a day last week where I forgot what my objective was. It seemed all day I was quietly labeling my children as rotten, because there had been so much disobedience. I complained to my husband about them when he got home. Then when all were in bed and one little straggler was resisting sleep, I'd had enough. Rotten, rotten, rotten. I escaped to my bedroom where God graciously brought my thoughts back to where they needed to be. Suddenly it hit me. Why did I want my children to obey? I realized that I was focusing on obedience for convenience sake. When they obey, it makes things easier on me. When they don't deliver, then they are bad and I must be a failure for not getting through to them. And then, there at the very bottom, the only thing left for me to do is demand justice. Someone must pay, whether it is the kids for their mistakes, or me for mine.

It was so humbling for me to come to this realization. What am I hoping to raise? Children who are sinners yet see their need for a Savior? Or little people-pleasers who are self-righteously obeying authority for appearance sake? I want a heart change in my children. Disobedience is a window into what is going on in my children's hearts. It is an opportunity to teach them truth.

When my perspective had changed, I was able to see that I had not been trusting God for my children's lives. Right now, day after day of the same struggles, it is easy to feel like I am not making any progress. However, God is at work, and He will put my feeble attempts to good use. I had forgotten that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Believing that He will equip me to train my children helps keep my perspective right where it should be.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making Jam

This morning I came across this recipe, and I am going to try it as soon as I find a good deal on plums. I love making homemade jam. There's something about those sparkly jars in my cabinet filled with something I made. I made my first batch of jam last year using blackberries from our yard. Since then I've made peach, strawberry, and blueberry. The more I have done it the more confident I have become. Making jam isn't nearly as intimidating to me as canning other things, because you use the water bath method. You can buy special equipment for this, but I just use my stockpot with a rag on the bottom instead of a rack. Besides your jars and lids, the only other equipment you need is a utensil set. This is the one I have.

This site is where I started reading up on canning, and it had lots of helpful tips. I read and re-read about making jam before making my first batch, and then I just followed the directions on the pectin package. I've used Sure-Jell for less sugar recipes, and this one. These allow you to make jam with a lot less sugar, or even with honey.

I hope these links and tips will be helpful if you've never tried making jam before. It really is so much fun, and sweet little jars of jam make great gifts!