Listen and Learn

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Proverbs 1:8-9

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.

The first teacher most of us have are our parents. They are the ones who form the early years of life, and often continue on until one becomes an adult. It seems as though the principle of a father and a mother instructing their child was a point that Solomon took as fact. Later within the book of Proverbs, we will see methods and other guidelines of being the instructor. In this verse though, it is emphasized that the child be the one to take action. 

“Hear” and “Do not forsake”. These are the responsibilities of the son. Hearing, initially shows a readiness to listen, a willingness to listen. It is not a passive listening to the instruction given by the father. The other interesting word to note is “instruction.” It seems to be used interchangeably with discipline in the Bible. 

I remember from a young age being told ‘no,’ and the response I was to give was obedience. Sometimes this occurred because I had broken the rules and I was receiving correction for my behavior. Other times the instruction I was given was proactive, it was cautionary and guiding my life. Some were basics, like don’t touch a hot stove, others more moral, like not telling lies. In any circumstance, those things are valuable lessons and worth listening to. The ‘teaching’ one is to not forsake or turn away from is instruction, the law, the rules. All valuable and in many cases are given to bring a child to safety, security, and better behavior as a whole. 

As a mother myself, it is crucial for me to instruct, discipline, correct, and guide my own children. Sometimes it is basic, like look both ways before crossing a street. Often I find myself guiding my own children within the bounds of the moral guides given by Scripture. Do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not murder, do not covet…these instructions are of great value.

Verse 9 describes those instructions as a ‘graceful wreath and ornaments to ones neck.’ These are descriptive of fine jewels. Matthew Henry wrote, “Those are truly valuable, and shall be valued, who value themselves more by their virtue and piety than by their worldly wealth and dignity.” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, http://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Pro/Pro_001.cfm?a=629009)

There is so much value when a person holds character above other things. Even within our entertainment, movies, and books there is a great appreciation of the person with right character. The heroes are often the most just, honorable, right, giving, kind, and loving person within a story. We prize the character of the man who lives rightly. God Himself values the person who follows instruction. 

I love when my children obey. I am sure every other parent has at some point felt the joy when their child follows instruction by themselves without having to reinforce the laws of the house. I myself had a blessed moment today when this occurred. Today was our first day of the school year. It was one I half longed for but also was slightly dreading. Getting the children back into routine, on schedule, with very distinct instructions to follow. It was in this that I had my moment of real calm and such happiness when they all willingly went to their desks, opened their books, and listened to the words to teach them. While not every day will be like this; I have been homeschooling long enough to know of the October slump, the spring fever and all the bad days that ensue, I know that the heading of instruction truly is a beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but take a few pictures while they were unaware, just to capture the graceful moment. My boys knew it was a good day, and the enjoyment was seen even on their faces.

I think of God being my Heavenly Father and the instruction He has given; and I am both gladdened and convicted. How often do I follow and take head of the instructions in the Bible? Do I follow those things closely, or do I go my own way? The wonderful thing about parents, is that Love often brings forgiveness and grace. It is the same with God our Father. He is willing to forgive, and so desirous of us to follow His Instructions. To listen and learn is graceful, beautiful, and a wonderful adornment to person who does those things. 

Oh, I do hope to wear the adornments of obedience; And to  have a crown of grace about me as I obey the instructions of God. Is this your desire too?

Do you ask for Help?

Bosque

In my 4 years of adventuring through homeschool, I have had the notion that I must and should do it all. There are articles explaining how one can accomplish everything. Magazines that show the ideal homeschool day. Granted there are also quite a number of people who post about how they struggle, how difficult it is, or how they have days when they want to give up.

The response to most of those difficult times is usually, “Take a day off”. I’ve wondered, ‘How about the rest of the year?’ Yet, in all of my conversations with people, I express how great homeschooling is, how terrific it is to make your own choices for your child’s education. I rave about the curriculum, the freeing schedule, the time spent at home. To be honest, I love homeschooling. Despite the difficulties, I do enjoy it. Now this post is not just about homeschooling though. There is an underlying lesson I have learned, and am still learning, that I would like to share.

Many of us desire to portray our lives as complete. No one wants to look like the dishevelled mess we might actually be. I blame part of my own actions to time living among people who culturally practice “saving-face” so to speak. But when I dig deeper, to the heart of the issue, is this not a form of pride and self-righteousness that I am propagating? Although in some ways, people label specific cultures as “saving-face” cultures, don’t we all have that desire to show off our best sides? When I scroll through my social media and see what my friends post, it’s usually the best side, and so is mine. Now, I am not saying that in itself is bad. But it also may not be accurate, and in doing so, we might be trying to convince ourselves that things are rosy.

So, what if it isn’t all roses and sunshine? What if in actuality you are drowning? Overwhelmed, Broken, and depressed? Or just ready to throw in the towel?

I had a moment that hit me hard when I realized I was incapable of continuing on. It wasn’t nice, I was broken and felt desperate. I realized in particular that my current method of homeschooling was not working and we were getting behind, along with other frustrations arising. Now this took a turn that actually was a moment of peace and resolution. My problem here was that I was professing that I was entirely good yet inside I was drowning. Well, I eventually gave up and did the unthinkable, I cried out, “HELP!” Guess what? It wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t all over when I fatally admitted that I was inadequate. In fact, it was just the needed words to break the cycle of defeat I was struggling in. Continue reading

The new hair product- Bacon

Well, this isn’t all about bacon but, while I was working on writing out this recipe, I did use a little bacon grease. Perhaps my mind was on another planet. It was unintentional, but as I leaned over the pots on the stove to read the quart size, I promptly dipped my hair in the bacon grease unaware. I sat back down, looked at my pen, which I used to brush my hair away, and saw it was covered in oil. Needless to say, it was my hair product tonight and has washed out well. I’ll let you all know if it causes pigtails.
The menu tonight was Lentils and potatoes. Did you know lentils usually make it to the top 10 healthiest food of all time? They are like a super food, and made right taste delicious too.
Before being in Mongolia, lentils were never on my table, but since being here, and the lack of fresh produce that our bodies were craving, we decided to try it. This recipe has received it’s name from the latest movie series we watched. “The Lentils of Endor” The name came from our thoughts that it would be something eaten by the boys favorite creatures (as of last week) the Ewoks.
Another note on Lentils, usually people turn their noses up at beans, kids don’t eat them and grown ups don’t always enjoy them. I thought this about Lentils too, but these are terrific made this way. The boys all cleared there plates!

Recipe: Lentils of Endor

1 lb green dry lentils, rinse off
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp black pepper
1 beef bullion cube
2 tsp parsley flakes
Salt
3 quarts water

Bring above ingredients to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1 hour. Check water levels occasionally to make sure it’s still covered with water.

8 potatoes, peeled and diced
1-3 Tsbp oil
1 Tbsp Green Chile powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp black pepper
Salt

(note: if you are fortunate to find or have green chile powder from New Mexico, it makes a huge difference. If you cannot find green chile powder, the equivalent of red chile powder will do, only add as much as you’d like it to be spicy)
Brown potatoes with seasoning in oil in a skillet and set aside.

Bacon- we use a whole pack.
Fry until done.

Alternately you could use diced up ham and lightly brown it with the potatoes.

Serve the lentils, potatoes, and bacon all mixed together.

It may not be the most colorful looking meal, but it sure tastes good and fills you up with something healthy and enjoyable.
If you eat this stuff, you’ll be as strong as a Wookie, or maybe an Ewok at least.

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(Reference: Raymond, Joan (March 2006). “World’s Healthiest Foods: Lentils (India)”. Health Magazine)

On a side note, we had it for breakfast the next day with fried eggs and green chile sauce topped with cheddar cheese on corn tortillas. It was amazing (and the boys asked for seconds).

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