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Mrs. Begrudgingly On Hiatus

. . .as Hubby said over a month ago.

My computer access will be sporadic for the next couple of months. I may be able to post now and again, but not regularly.

As you may have noticed, each comment requires manual approval. (Still working out the bug on that one. . .) So, if you comment and don't see it come up, it's nothing personal. *grin*

My e-mail address is tulipgrrl at gmail dot com.

Blogging has become very important to me. Y'all have been a very dear and encouraging part of my life. *mush, mush*


March 29, 2005  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ugh. Stuff.

Every time we move, I wonder "How did we manage to accumulate all this stuff?!?!"


March 28, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Bits and Pieces on Sunday

It’s mostly because of friends blogging about Holy Week that I know today is Easter Sunday in the West. Here in Ukraine, we still have several weeks before we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Today we hosted an open house to say goodbye to our Ukrainian friends. It went well, but was pretty emotional. As Hubby and I have alluded to, we are in the midst of leaving Kyiv. More on that later. . .

We’ve been sorting, cleaning, packing, giving, planning. . . I have some friends who have offered to help, but so much of moving is mental preparation and decisions only we can make.

Hubby brought some boxes into the shipping company the other day. He had carefully wrapped the breakables, listed the contents meticulously, and encased the boxes in layers of tape. Customs opened every single box and went through them item by item. *sigh* Four books were confiscated for being over 40 years old, and a couple of prescription drugs I didn't realized were not allowed to be shipped. For a "fee" Hubby could have the books back. He didn't pay it. They put them back in the boxes anyway.

R6 looking out his bedroom window.

The kids have been phenomenal. Looking forward to changes, but realizing they are saying goodbye. We’ve had a lot of emotions coming up—sadness, anger, mixed up feelings. One of the things that I took away from our cross-cultural preparation was the idea of the Enjoyment/Endurance paradox. That it is okay to be happy and sad, enjoying and struggling, looking forwards and looking backwards—all at the same time. The kids are going through a lot of that now, too.

It’s been interesting how having an online friend go through the craziness of a move at the same time I am has made this move a lot easier.


March 28, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, Mom!

My Mom, Me, and Baby C Kyiv, Ukraine - August 2002


March 26, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Welcome, Babies!

Congrats to proud parents, Joe and Jane Missionary (and big brother, Junior!) on their daughter Joy!


And congrats to Little Miss Reformed, on her niece Little Baby Tulip. Lil' Miss is the type of aunt every parents wants for their child--doting and loving and spoiling. Baby Lil' Tulip even looks like Lil' Miss! See the cute tulip hat!?



March 23, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Morning Prayer II

In the morning, O LORD , you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3


March 23, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Spices in Any Language

Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages are amazing!

Not only can you look up your old, familiar spices to find out what they are called in many other languages, but the search function operates in other languages, too!

Today I discovered that the Шалфей I bought is sage. *grin* I wish I had discovered this three years ago. . .

Not only does this site provide the names of spices in various languages, but also the botanical names, photos, illustrations, uses of spices, cultural info and recipes. An amazing resource for the gourmand, or simply curious.


March 22, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Restoring Gently and Carrying Burdens

At this stage in my life, so much of my reading and studying is filtered through the perspective of mothering. This includes my studying of the Bible and theology. I find the deeper I dig into God’s Word, the more light it shines on my life--and how I ought to mother.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2

“Brothers. . .” This passage is written to Believers. As parents, God has given us special responsibility towards our children. But they are also our “brothers” and in the Covenant.

Kristen recently wrote,

We went to Ash Wednesday services at the beginning of Lent with Kate at the episcopal church around the corner (we missed liturgy) and when the priest put ashes on her little forehead, it really made an impact on me. As much as I am her mother, I am also her sister in Christ. This has been really helpful to me in thinking through parenting issues. Most Christians wouldn't serve wine to a fellow Christian who was a recovering alcoholic. Why do they discpline their children and then set them up to do the same things again?

In his commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther clarifies that “caught in sin” is not speaking about doctrinal errors, “but about far lesser sins into which people fall not deliberately, but through weakness.” As our children are learning right from wrong, they will sin. As they are growing through various stages of development, they will have greater or lesser control over their impulses.

Luther goes on to say, “is caught in imply being tricked by the devil or sinful nature.” Sinful nature, temptation, weakness, developmental stages--remembering these sins of our children are part of their weakness helps me respond to them with compassion.

Luther states, “Paul therefore teaches how those who have fallen should be dealt with--namely those who are strong should raise them up and restore them gently.” I don’t always feel “strong” or “spiritual.” Often I feel weak and struggling myself. But it is my responsibility to raise my children and be strong for them. We have no trouble with the idea of parents being a “mama bear” protecting her young child. I also want to be strong spiritually to correct them gently, to be the “mama bear” to help my children when they are struggling with sin.

It’s interesting to note that this passage is immediately proceeded by the admonitions to walk in the Spirit and the list of the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These should be on my mind as I restore my children gently.

Luther reinforces the idea of this passage reminding us of “the fatherly and motherly affection that Paul requires of those who have charge over souls.”

What does “restoring gently” look like? Luther explains, “when they see that those persons are sorrowful for their offenses, they should begin to raise them up again, to comfort them, and to mitigate their faults as much as they can—yet through mercy only, which they must set against sin, lest those who have fallen are swallowed up with depression.” And “. . .gently, and not in the zeal of severe justice.”

To be honest, at times I’ve had Christian mothers advocate some child-training approaches that seemed to have more of the “zeal of severe justice” than how Luther describes the Holy Spirit’s correction, “mild and pitiful in forbearing.”

After restoring gently, we are told to “carry each other’s burdens.” I see this, in light of mothering, as an especial entreaty to know our particular children and their particular weaknesses.

One of my sons is insecure around lots of guests--and he has responded in the past by getting very loud, climbing on furniture, and even hitting a guest. I've found that to carry his burden means I prepare him beforehand for our guests, and I hold his hand when they arrive, until he is comfortable and calm. Another son is prone to lash out at his brothers when he is angry. Bearing his burden has meant praying with him and for him, helping him recognize when he feels anger rising, and giving him strategies to deal with that anger without hitting. And it has meant letting him know it’s good to come to me and say, “Mommy, I’m angry” so I can help him not sin in his anger.

Also in this encouragement to carry one another’s burdens, it strikes me how wrong it is to follow the child-training technique of placing a child in a situation of temptation--to test him and see whether he can withstand it (or be punished.) This method is encouraged by some for training toddlers and preschoolers, and seems to be very contrary to bearing the burdens of temptation.

Luther also comments on this passage that sometimes in bearing with one another, things need to just be let go--“These people are the ones who are overtaken by sin and have the burdens that Paul commands us to carry. In this case, let us not be rigorous and merciless, but follow the example of Christ, who bears and forbears these burdens. If he does not punish them, though He might do so with justice, much less ought we to do so.”

“And watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. . .” For parents, I see this as a two-fold warning. First, to be gentle, not be angry—the caution here illustrates how very easy it is to slip into being harsh.

And also I see the warning not to be tempted to pride. When we become concerned about appearing to be “good parents” it is easy to slip into correcting harshly, minutely. This is one of the areas in which I struggled a lot, especially when my children were smaller. And especially when we were guests in churches and people's homes. I felt pressure (from myself even more than others) for my kids to be perfect and "prove" we were worthy to be missionaries. That pressure tempted me both into pride in my children's good behaviour, as well being overly picky and correcting unnecessarily.

The end of these verses is “in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” As Martin Luther said,

“After Christ had redeemed us, renewed us, and made us his church, he gave us no other law but that of mutual love. To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another's burdens--that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear. Therefore, Christians (parents!) must have strong shoulders and mighty bones, so they can carry their brother’s weaknesses. . . Love, therefore, is mild, courteous, and patient, not in receiving, but in giving, for it is constrained to wink at many things and to bear them.

Footnote: Quotations are from the Crossway Commentary series, Martin Luther on Galatians. Luther's commentary is also available online, in a variant translation.


March 21, 2005  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Rocket Scientists and Tiny Babies

You could take it as an insult, but God does not credit us with being rocket scientists when it comes to taking care of the next generation. Instead he pre-programs caregiving behavior on the part of mothers AND he pre-programs babies to elicit caregiving from their mothers. An obvious example is how a nursing mother's breasts gush milk in response to hungry-baby sounds. Just in case she can't figure it out from the way her baby is frantically mouthing anything that gets near...her breasts start to tingle and next thing she knows, the front of her shirt is milky. It is not the most subtle of hints. But considering how tiny and vulnerable babies are, it's a hint to heed. This milk-ejection reflex subsides after the first few months of nursing. By that time a nursing mother and her baby have sync'ed up well and the mother knows her baby's subtlest signs of need for nursing.

But it doesn't stop there. . .

Read the rest over on the Yellow Porch.


March 20, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Morning Prayer

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of You, let my first impulse be to worship You, let my first speech be Your name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer.

For Your perfect wisdom and perfect goodness:
For the love with which you love mankind:
For the love with which You love me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life:
For the indwelling of Your Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of your Spirit:
I praise and worship you, O Lord.

You let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of You. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day;

Keeping me chaste in thought:
Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech:
Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work:
Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself:
Keeping me honorable and generous in my dealings with others:
Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past:
Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Yours:
Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

This prayer is written by John Baillie, from his book Diary of Private Prayer. I'm copying it here to remind myself to print it out and tuck it into my Bible. It was quoted over at The Upward Call. I recommend spending a few quiet minutes reading the Kim's whole post.


March 20, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Girl

My niece, Th4--Doesn't she look like fun?


March 19, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blog Call!

Inspired by Megan, who borrowed it from Keeley Steger. . .

Come on, comment. . . It’ll be fun.

1. How often do you check my blog?

2. Do you have a blog of your own? If so, what is the link? If no, why not?

3. Why do you visit my blog?

4. What are some other good blogs that you read?

Thanks for playing along. I’m always just *so* curious!


March 19, 2005  |  Comments (43)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



God and His Faithfulness

"This faithfulness of God is of the utmost practical significance to the people of God. It is the ground of their confidence, the foundation of their hope, and the cause of their rejoicing. It saves them from the despair to which their own unfaithfulness might easily lead, gives them courage to carry on in spite of their failures, and fills their hearts with joyful anticipations, even when they are deeply conscious of the fact they have forfeited all the blessings of God."
--Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology


March 18, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Playing at a Friend's House

Yesterday we got to go to "Baby N's" house to play and have an UnBirthday Party. I had a great visit with my my friend, Baby N's Mommy.


The boys playing dress up.


The boys blowing out the candles on their McD sundaes. We were going to have cake, but the electricity was out, and the little cakes were never baked. . .


Baby N, aka Spiderman and J8


March 17, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Easy Beef Bourguignonne

I bought a wonderful Merlot for this recipe. (Only $2--I know Jay and Godric are jealous!) So, I'm sitting here sipping wine and delaying on starting dinner. . .


2 lbs lean stewing beef
3 - 4 TBS flour
1 tsp each, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt & pepper
1 bay leaf (just for you, Bayou !)
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 large onions, diced
olive oil

Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil and place in crockpot. Combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and parsley in a large bowl. Toss meat in, lightly coating each piece. Shake off excess flour and place in the crockpot. Add wine, water, broth, worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve with buttered noodles.

NOTE: If you don't have a crockpot, you can also cook this in a sealed oven dish for 2 - 3 hours at 300 degrees.

NOTE II: For a little added zing, you can also add a few shakes of A-1 sauce to the sauce, if you like.

Again, a classic from Ellen.


March 16, 2005  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Suzanne moving to Kyiv. . .

I got your e-mail, but my reply to you bounced back twice.

Please e-mail me again! tulipgrrl AT gmail DOT com


March 15, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Memories of Adak

I had a vivid dream the other night. Spring had softly begun. The snow was melting, the sky was clear and there was a slight warmth to the air. Trees were in a light mist of green—promises of leaf buds.

I woke up this morning and it was grey. And cold. Snow was falling hard, and I could see the roads below our flat were covered in white, unplowed.

I was so disheartened.

But my trail of thoughts led back to when I was a child and I enjoyed the winter and cold and lived in Alaska. I have few family photos with me here in Kyiv, and none from that time. But I was able to google some great photos that brought back a lot of good memories. I couldn’t find any pics of the house where we lived, but lots of places and things I remembered.



Adak National Forest

No tree taller than my dad.




So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'Cause I'm leaving on a Reeves plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go


(All photos were linked from this site about Adak.)


March 15, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



One Less Thing

Happy, Happy! The tax forms available to download from irs.gov are now available in Adobe, with the option to modify.

Which means, I was able to type all of our tax info on the forms and then print them out to have a friend's brother take back to the States and mail. Woohoo! One procastinatable task checked off my list!

And thanks to Bush's additional child tax credit and having four boys, well, our tax numbers aren't too scary.


March 14, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Not Far Away

I read somewhere that most people are never more than eight feet from a spider. Spiders are ubiquitous and secretive. Suffering is like that, everywhere and hidden. We have lost people we love, we have frittered away time and dreams, we have discovered betrayal where we expected love, we have been abused, we have been despised, we have been suffocated by indifference. --Tony Woodlief

O Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
"Even so"—it is well with my soul.
--Horatio Spafford


March 13, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On the Pearls and Parenting

This is an e-mail conversation I had with a young woman not long ago about the Pearls and their highly punitive parenting ideas. Although I'm more concerned about helping parents see the problems with Ezzo, I decided to make available here some of my thoughts about the Pearls/To Train Up a Child/No Greater Joy.


Hello, TulipGirl. My name is *******, and we've crossed each other's paths on a board by a woman named ********* talking about the book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl.

Hi, *******!

I remember you from *******’s blog. *grin*

I've been researching all I can about the Pearls, and I've come across your name a couple of times.

Research is good. I’m sure you’ve found a mixed bag of people who are thrilled with TTUAC and those who aren’t--as well as those who are rational about their opinions about TTUAC and those who are very emotional or accusatory. The Pearls aren’t my “pet issue” so I’m a bit surprised you came across my name a few times. I looked back through some things I’ve posted online and realized I had written more than I thought about them.

First, I'm interested to know what you (and others) find so objectionable about the Pearls.

The heart of the issue is that they are teaching something they claim is Biblical, but is instead based on Behaviour Modification and building a subculture. They are very persuasive, especially to young parents. I believe their underlying philosophy goes against applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our family life.

One way this comes up is, while there is mention of "tying heart strings", there is far more that leads parents/children into an antagonistic relationship. The parent/child antagonism is one of the key problems I have with the ******** site, in spite of the many professions of love and delight in children. The attitude behind “ambushing” children is antagonistic. The attitude of “power struggles” and “outlasting” is antagonistic. And, I believe, unsupportable Biblically.

Galatians 6 talks about discipline. . . “Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. . .” Restoring gently, being careful yourself--that sounds nothing like the Pearls.

This antagonistic attitude towards children also comes across in things like their constant comparison between children made in the image of God and likening them to mere animals--horses, dogs, etc. For example:

"I became anxious and started pushing him to perform. He was making me look silly. "What right does he have to do this to me? Me, of all people. My family would have thought I was so smart, and now I look dumb. Stupid dog. Must be inbred." Sensing my disapproval, he started to shy away from me. To get my approval, he must make me look good in public. After all, what is a dog good for, but to elevate his master?"

Of course, the Pearls were talking about their dog here--but in the context of training children. The message is “What is a child good for, but to elevate his parent?” The focus shifts from discipling the little blessings God has given us, to placing our children’s worth on how well they perform. As well as deriving our worth as adults on our children’s performance.

Sadly, I know a lot of Christian parents who fall into the trap of thinking that way--that our children must be perfectly behaved, especially around others--and that leads parents and children into legalism, rather than into building a stronger relationship with one another and trusting in God. Pride and trusting one's "child training" can sometimes quench one's trust in God.

Another problem I have with the book is the theology. As Doug Wilson aptly said,

"The innate sinfulness of the child is denied, which leads the Pearls to sharply distinguish training from discipline. Training is what the innocent infants and toddlers get, and is identical to what puppies get when they don't go on the newspapers. Discipline supposedly comes later when sin enters the picture. While this is not a book of theology, a Finney-like Pelagianism runs near the surface. And while there are some similarities between animal training and child-discipline, the distinctions between the two are not adequately maintained in this book. The result of this confusion is not only heretical, but also offensive to any parents who value the dignity of their children."

I believe our parenting should be shaped by our theology--and I've found as I've grown in my walk with the Lord and in studying theology that it has impacted my parenting in a very big way.

I read a passage in the TableTalk devotional recently that pointed out to me, yet again, how theology impacts parenting.

"God is Father (James 1:27) and therefore loves His children deeply. Yet God is Judge (James 5:9) and thus is required to punish sin. God's love and righteousness, we know, motivated Him to accomplish redemption for us based on the sacrifice of His perfect Son who suffered the punishment we all deserve." --Robert Rothwell, TableTalk January 2005

Our children are part of the Covenant, and I believe Christ has already suffered the punishment for their sin on the Cross. I do not need to “punish” them when they do wrong. I do need to discipline them, disciple them, help them see their sin and repent, as well as help them learn the “rules” of living in polite society. I am not permissive. But I do not think that using a rod to spank my toddler, ala Pearl, will cleanse them of sin. Nor do I see any command in the Bible for parents to punish children for their sin--I do see many commands to disciple, discipline, teach, love, train and chastise.

I did a study on the Fruit of the Spirit several years ago. One of the things that surprised me was that in so many passages that talked about gentleness, it was linked with discipline. God puts the two together. There are other things related to what I’ve studied in the Bible and theology that leads me to have concerns about the Pearl’s parenting, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.

As I posted before, I don't agree with 100% of what they say,

Is there anyone that we would say we agree with 100%? *grin* I’m curious what you disagree with that they teach?

But their principle - that children should obey their parents - seems sound.

Biblical, even. *grin* Btw, it isn’t “their” principle or even that which is what is controversial about what they teach. I’m not sure whether I mentioned over at ******’s or not, but I started my parenting journey with a strong view that I was required to make my children obey. Now I believe that I am called to help them obey, as they become the people God has created them to be. There is a world of difference between the ideas make and help.

And, a look at Ephesians 6 reminds us that God is talking to His littlest disciples in that passage, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” That’s quite a difference from if it read (as many seem to assume) “Parents, make your children obey you, for this is right in the Lord.”

And again, while sometimes they go overboard, I think their style of parenting - strict - works in the long run.

In what ways do you think they go overboard? Are you aware that there are many parents who are strict who don’t embrace a Pearl parenting style? You’d probably agree with a “mean what you say and way what you mean” attitude in parenting. Are you aware there are parents who do that without resorting to either “ambush” swats or bribery?

I mentioned on xxxx that according to one study, children who had strict boundaries were less likely to end up taking drugs as teenagers.

Firm boundaries, I believe, are a good thing. The Pearls don’t have the corner on the market for that. That is not unique to their teachings. One friend of mine, Joanne, is very firm in her boundaries but enforces those boundaries in a way that isn’t laced with Pearl-esque Behaviour Modification. Take a look Joanne's Discipline Resource Center.

One characteristic of those teens who did take drugs was that their parents had difficulty punishing them as children.

I’d be interested to know what is meant by “punishing.” I no longer punish my children. Christ has borne the punishment for their sins on the Cross. I do enforce boundaries and discipline my children. Personally, I have wider boundaries than I used to have with them--but they are older now and I’m less of a control freak than I was when I was a younger mom. *grin*

Second, I think a lot of people tend to lump Pearl and Ezzo together in the same boat as a knee-jerk reaction.

Knee jerk? Some people online do seem to be a bit reactionary, don’t they? *grin* The vast majority, though, seem to understand the issues either from experience, evidence-based concerns or the Bible.

I usually see Ezzo and Pearl discussed separately--only linked when misuse of the Bible is being talked about in the context of parenting teachings (or, like over at ******, when one is presented as an alternative to the other.)

I respect a parent's decision never to spank, but somehow to me the anti-spanking movement has become a bit of a cult: Thou shalt not spank.

I can’t defend the anti-spanking movement as I’m not part of it, per se.

And somehow the anti-Pearlers, and anti-spankers in general, seem to take a "more enlightened than thou" approach:

I think we need to clarify before going on. While anti-spankers will almost always be anti-TTUAC, not everyone who has serious problems with TTUAC is an anti-spanker. Lumping them together may lead to people not seeing the concerns in TTUAC as valid. (Saying this to clarify that I know spankers who do not like TTUAC in the least.)

that they, not the parents of that particular child, know what's best for somebody else's family.

That’s interesting. I hear more “This is the only way to raise Godly children” from people advocating the Pearls, the ******, the Ezzos--and a lot of condescension to those poor mothers who don’t know any better or are too “afraid” to spank.

To be honest, I would love to see more grace and patience shown to mothers with different values in parenting from all involved. I am completely convinced that parents who embrace a Pearl style of parenting are doing so out of love for their children.

However, love is shown by actions as well as attitudes, and the actions the Pearls advocate are very often unloving.

The final thing: the "Pearl" method of parenting is similar to that our parents and grandparents used, to some extent, and which they still use in some countries today. It's hard to believe that modern-day North American kids, who are less likely to be physically punished, are really so much better off psychologically than everyone else.

Likely, we will all be psychologically messeed up in one way or another by mistakes our parents made. I believe a mother’s love and God’s grace cover a multitude of mistakes.

Having known people both brought up in a Pearl manner, as well as talking with the older generation you appeal to, well, I see plenty of problems.

One friend (parents were Pearl followers) continues to be estranged from her parents. Another (older generation) person I know, a dear believing woman, has gone through much counseling and spiritual growth in dealing with the constant “you don’t measure up” messages from her childhood. (And while the Pearls may deny that is what they say, they are communicating performance-based worth to their children.)

Another guy I know was the poster child for Pearl parenting. He courted a young lady, they did everything “right”, were married and divorced two years later. Only then did it come out that he had been living a double life--the “good kid” around the homeschool groups and church, and the rebellious adult he had become. Good, godly, strict parents. . .

Another family’s oldest son started sleeping around at 12 (again, a family who was doing everything “right” by the ideals taught by the Pearls and related subcultures) and is still involved with drugs at 25.

These were dear, praying, active Christian families who were strict and didn’t “spare the rod” but were sure to use it. They were consistent, involved in church, homeschoolers (all of them) and definitely “tying heartstrings”. I’m sure you can find good results to balance each of these sad results--but that’s not the point.

The point is the almost-blanket-guarantee that is given by the Pearls is just not sound. Early child training through quick swats when kids disobey will not guarantee an obedient child, a non-rebellious teen, or a spiritually secure and emotionally healthy adult.

I suppose the only way to "test" the Pearls' method would be to compare, say, 100 families who used the Pearls' method and 100 who did not. And even this would be difficult because the two groups of families would probably differ in many other ways too. Most of the anecdotes I hear about the Pearls are positive, so in some ways I don't know why if it worked for others it would not work for me if I had kids.

*L* Well, I guess I got ahead of the flow of the e-mail with the above descriptions of some problem-child Pearl scenarios.

Whether or not it “works” is in large part determined by how you define “works.” My goal is to help my children become the people God has created them to be, with an emphasis on them relying upon God’s grace for their daily living. I want to help them learn to recognize their sin and turn to God in repentance. I want to model for them what it looks like to lean into God when we are struggling.

Meeting these goals is how I’ll eventually be able to measure whether my parenting choices are “working.” But, I can tell you now, that the teachings from the Pearls will not “work” for meeting these goals.

So I guess I just wanted to know the reason for your animosity towards the Pearls (and I'm not advocating the Pearls; I'm just curious as to why some people are so vehemently against them).

I hold no personal animosity towards the Pearls. I do oppose their teachings because they teach Behaviour Modification and call it “Biblical training.” I oppose their teaching because while it may seem to “work” in the short term for some families, it sets up an antagonistic parent/child relationship based on control. I oppose their teachings because it leaves little room for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of the parents or children, and does not turn the children towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace,

Other Related Resources:
Authoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us
Parenting Decisions: Discipline
Biblical Discipline: Conclusions
TTUAC Review by Wendy
Why Not "Train A Child"?
Avoiding Millstones
AwareParent Forum

Update: Related blogging this week at Carol's Storybook, Knitted in the Womb and My One Long Day.


March 13, 2005  |  Comments (43)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tea, Wonderful Tea

I've been cutting back on my coffee and replacing it with water and herb tea. The baby weight I've held onto since #4 was born hasn't gone anywhere and I'm not happy with that. I realized that the huge quantities of coffee I drink (along with the requisite cream and sugar) were adding more calories a day than I realized--especially in the winter when I always have a cuppa hot joe in my hand.

So, I've been slowly replacing all but my morning coffee with hot tea. My favorites are peppermint, chammomile, lemon, and green tea. I often make the boys lavender tea when they come in from the cold or right before bed. I like a tad of honey with the green tea (or when I'm sick) but other than that, I drink them sweetner-free. I can't wait to try Adagio teas--in fact, their Cha Cha blend sounds like something I'd love. For now, though, my usual comes from a small company that sells teas made from herbs gathered in the Carpathian Mountains.

I came across Adagio Teas earlier this week. After reading about their blogging promotional all over (and challenged by Andrea), I've finally decided to public my decision to break my coffee-habit.

Those who love learning about and talking about tea, be sure to check out the Adagio Tea sponsored online magazine, Tea Muse.


March 11, 2005  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Cross Cultural Comedy

Crazy Japan Pictures

If you posted the happy, humming elephant family picture please let me know. That's how I found this site today. (*blush* Can't remember.)


March 10, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Change and Hope in Lebanon

"It was our Boston Tea Party. . . . People feel empowered for the first time; they are feeling that their voice matters - that they can say things. . . It is not yet victory, but for the first time in a very long time, people are feeling, 'I can make change.' And there is a real sense of fraternity and unity." -- Lebanese political analyst Nawaf Salam

Our voice matters. We can make a change. What I'm hearing from Lebanon so much echoes the feelings in Ukraine during November and December, during the Orange Revolution.

That feeling of empowerment was something new, something different--a hope that just wasn't here for so long.

Honestly, I don't understand the intricacies of what is going on in Lebanon. Life here in Ukraine is still absorbing my attention and energy. But I hear bits and pieces like this, feel hopeful, and pray.


March 10, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



True To Life Crayons

I found the below "crayon reject" over at Keel The Pot.

Note: That color gold is only found in the diapers of exclusively breastfed babies. Thought that was interesting. . .

You are

What Rejected Crayon Are You?


March 10, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Not Quite Trogdor. . .




The boys decided to start drawing dragons. As things progressed, they began to cut them out. Then drew knights. I can't quite call them "paper dolls," but they now have a whole set of knights and dragons to play with.

I love their imagination.

And hearing them sing Trogdor the Burninator. . .


March 09, 2005  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hooray! Carol's New Home!

I'm really excited to announce the unveiling of Carol of Parenting Decisions new blog at a new url, http://www.parentingdecisions.com/blog/!

Carol has been a dear friend for several years now, such an encouragement to me both in ministering to my children and in my faith. She's surprised our family with Christmas boxes (peanut butter and more!) and called me on a day that I really needed it--all the way from Canada to Ukraine.

Andrea of Atypical Life did a great job with the layout and techie stuff. (I'm in such awe of techmamas.)


March 09, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



March 8th -- Women's Day

Today is Women's Day, a left-over Soviet-style Hallmark holiday, marked by the giving of chocolates and flowers.

I had some notes jotted down in last year's journal that I wanted to share on this holiday. I've been meditating lately on our identity in Christ and being complete in Him. One thing that struck me was how that impacts our single sisters in Christ, and the church's perception of single women.

I didn’t experience “singleness” as an adult. I met Hubby and wanted to marry him at 17. Four years of living at home, love and courtship, we were married.

The back home movement in GNAP* has, in some ways, excluded single women. I appreciate the emphasis on valuing woman as mothers and wives.

However, I’ve seen such a strong desire to rebuild the family and give honor to mothers, that those who are not married especially (but also those who are married but do not have children) are in a sort of limbo. There is talk (and action) of single women remaining with their family of origin and ministering from there. And though no one would actually say it--and in fact, would vehemently deny it--the message often communicate is that a woman’s worth comes only from marriage and bearing children. That a woman is not complete without these things.

This attitude seems to go against our wholeness being found in Christ, being part of the Church as a whole, and our worth as Christ’s Bride.

And like the Soviet-style Women's Day holiday, it sometimes seems there is much noise but in the end, is the church really showing respect to women, if we are subtly snubbing our single and childless friends?

*Generic North American Protestantism


March 08, 2005  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Joe Who?

Those who are fans of Joe Missionary, please note his new url and easier-to-read website, http://www.joemissionary.com/.


March 08, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



March Giveaway from Challies

March Giveaway

Referral ID 41754.

Btw, I won Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism, and have totally enjoyed it. *grin* Thanks, Tim!

Update: Congratulations, Ryan and Wanda!


March 08, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happy Birthday, Niece!

My Mom and niece, Th4

March 08, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



If You Had 10 Million Dollars. . .

Call me twisted, but I find it fun to pore over 990PF tax forms. I was involved with a great non-profit organization in Texas for three years as a volunteer, and a year as an intern. One of the things I dabbled in was grant writing.

And so Slate’s articles on philanthropy during the last year caught my eye and attention.

The Ninth Annual Slate 60
The 2004 Slate 60 list

One of my daydreams is to be on the board of a charitable foundation. I like to plan which charities I’d support in the short term and long term. I have all sorts of ideas—scholarships, foreign missions, political causes, environmental/economic partnerships, pro-life groups. . .

If you had 10 million dollars that you must give away this year, what groups and charities would benefit?


March 07, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Baby, You're Making Me Crazy

"The one thing I have not written about, that I don't really talk about, is the year after my son was born: the year I went crazy. I've been trying to find a way to tell this story, and I think that in order to have it make sense, I need to start at the beginning. My son's birth day." --Amy

Amy is going where so many of us are afraid to tread, writing in her vulnerable, cut-to-the heart way about post-partum depression.
A Baby Story -- Part One of A Tale I Don't Tell

Part Two -- Birth

Part Three -- All We Need to Know of Hell

The End: The Monster


March 07, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blessed Be the Lord our God

Blessed be the Father, who has blessed us
In Christ with every blessing from above;
Who chose us to be holy and be blameless;
Whose pleasure was adopting us in love;
Who planned before the world began
By His good will that we should stand
Before Him face to face
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Son, who has redeemed us;
Whose blood, for our forgiveness has been spilled;
Who lavished grace so rich and free upon us;
Who showed to us the mystery of His will;
Whose kind intent made wisdom known;
Who's made us heirs of all He owns;
In whom our hope is placed
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Spirit who sustains us;
The promised One in whom we have been sealed;
Who tuned our hearts to hear salvation's message;
By whom the Gospel's truth has been revealed;
Whom God gave as a guarantee
That what He owns, He will redeem;
Who stirs our hearts to faith
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Father who has blessed us.
Blessed be the Son who shed His blood.
Blessed be the Spirit who sustains us.
Blessed be the Lord our God.

--written by Valerie Kyriosity, 2000

Valerie shares the context of writing the above hymn of praise. I only wish I could hear the tune that goes with it. As it is, I'm humming anyway.


March 07, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Tongue Meditations: Weakness

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others. All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. Ecclesiastes 7:20-23

Am I continuing to strive to be wise in my words, patient, gentle, etc. even though I know I will fall short continually?

Am I humble and contrite in my failings, quick to bring them before the Lord and seek His help to overcome them?

Am I gentle toward others and quick to forgive when they sin against me, knowing that I myself have oftened sinned in the same way?

From Sora's Tongue Meditations


March 07, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sympathetic Priest and One Foundation

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

--Hebrews 4:14-16

This was part of the NT reading in church today, and I want to meditate upon it this week. We also sang the following hymn in Russian. I wanted to see and sing all the verses in English when I got home.

The church's one Foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav'n he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from ev'ry nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food.
And to one hope she presses,
With ev'ry grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain and cherish
Is with her to the end;
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With the God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

Old Trinity Hynal #270


March 06, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Prayer and Parenting

We Pray

Simple – we pray. Daily… hourly if need be. We pray for the grace to be a good mom, to raise them up the way He would have us to do. We pray for wisdom, mercy, strength, tender ears, receptive hearts and good choices. We pray when things are going great, and we pray when things have just fallen apart.

From Carla Rolfe, Reformed mama of 7

I remember when I was a teen, hearing my Mom mention how important prayer had become to her, as a parent. I heard it, thought I understood it, but didn't really grasp it. And for the first several years of being a mother, I prayed--but didn't rely upon it in the midst of parenting like I do now.

In situations with my children that need correction, my first response is now pulling my child on my lap to cuddle, and praying--either silently or with my child.

It's amazing how quickly and effectively that stops misbehaviour, calms us BOTH down, and prepares us to easily address the problem.

My Mom was right. Praying is the key to parenting.

(Added: Rebecca is writing a series on prayer this month. I strongly recommend her Praying for your Children. Also see Spiritual Ingenue's Prayer for my Children.)


March 05, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Apart from liberating 50 million people in Iraq. . .

“All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Check out Gerard Baker's Monty Python/George W comparison as well as this CSMonitor article by Daniel Schorr, senior news analyst at NPR.

(Via RealClearPolitics and Hubby.)


March 04, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boxes and Bearing with the Body

"Even within the Church, we put others into boxes, and the boxes are little “behaviour” boxes. . . . After this exercise, we sit and wonder why our churches are not more unified. Personally, I believe unity in the church comes from unity of belief, not unity of behaviour. . . . If we look for unity among our brothers and sisters in Christ through behaviour alone, then we are not practicing the faith; we’re practicing behaviourism".

Kim has a wonderful article written about loving, judging, forbearance--and the pain of being "put in a box." Go read it, and be edified.


March 04, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



On Birthin' Babies

Jenn and Carmon are writing on various aspects of birth, safety and homebirth. I recommend them for anyone who is "in the family way."

Like Carmon, I want to be sure mamas know that,

While I’m a strong advocate of home birth, I am not so dogmatic that I think poorly of women who have their babies in the hospital. Most of my friends have had their babies in the hospital! I’ve also lived long enough to learn that the ideal may be something to strive for, but God sometimes has different plans.

Birthing resources online:
Parenting Decisions: Birth Comfort Ideas
GCM: Cradled in Our Womb Resources
Carmon's Top 10 Birth Ideas
Knitted in the Womb
Birth Well Doula

(Btw, I just remembered that Hubby wrote a run-down of our birthing experiences. Just remember while reading them, they are from a guy's perspective. . .)


March 04, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Things They Say

“Is this e-mail? Oatmeal, I mean. . .”

--C4, who has grown up calling it kasha, holding up a packet of instant oatmeal.


March 04, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For the Older and Wiser Among Us

Prime Time Missions Conference
April 25-29

Mission to the World and Ridge Haven Conference Center are sponsoring the first Prime Time Missions Conference for ages 50 and up.

It will be held at Ridge Haven from April 25-29, 2005. Shelton Sanford, pastor of Westminster PCA in Rock Hill, SC, will be the keynote speaker. There will be testimonies from people who have served in MTW's Second Career program, seminars, and opportunities for cross-cultural experiences. There is a $100 discount for the first 50 to register before March 25.


March 03, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Free Ice Cream--Today Only!

From Yahoo and Baskin Robbins.


March 02, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



My Nephew, As Drawn By My Niece


My sister is due with baby #2 at the end of September! I'm convinced she's having a boy. My niece, T3almost4 drew this portrait of mother and child earlier this month. It reminds me of Amy's.


March 02, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



States We've Been Meme

Bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Or, see the map.

(Via Cindy)


March 01, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Manolo, He Would Approve

Last week, Hubby took my boots in to be reheeled. At least I thought he did. But then I saw Condi Rice wearing them. . .


March 01, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Where Go The Boats?

Where Go The Boats?

DARK brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore

A Child’s Garden of Verses evokes memories and sweet emotions. I remember reading an old book of poetry that was my mother's when she was a child, a collection of poetry and stories, that included several poems by Robert Lewis Stevenson.


March 01, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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