Cradle Rocking to Cooking…

Soooo, I’m pretty fixated on this whole idea of ‘cradle rocking’ right now.  As a visionary, it is so important for me to have regular reminders of what my mission is as a parent.  I’ve been mulling over what I want the culture of our home to look like.

Some things are no-brainers: I want a home where the Spirit of God is present and moving in all of us; a home where we pursue God and allow him to guide our interactions with each other and others.  I want a home where we delight in the adventure of learning.

Other areas are more subjective.  My sister and I were recently talking about how our mother created a culture of appreciating the arts and great literature.  I don’t have a natural bent towards art.  But she would regularly take us to art museums, discuss the worldview or artistic techniques of various artists and get us excited to do the same.  As such, I have a deep appreciation for art.  She started taking us to Shakespeare plays before we could even begin to comprehend the ‘old English’ way of communicating.  She cultivated a hunger for understanding and enjoying it!  We all love to discuss art and literature because that was the culture she created in her home.

On a more practical note, I’ve always ‘valued’ the idea of raising independent kids.  This week, as I’ve been pondering ‘my culture’ I realized that in my rush to be efficient and my desire to have things done ‘my way’ that I have not involved my kids in the kitchen with the frequency that I would like to think I have.  This became glaringly evident when my 8 year old walked into the kitchen yesterday at lunch and asked if he could help me put the burritos together for lunch.  I quickly told him no, thinking that it would take too long when the whole ‘culture’ idea popped into my head again.  What was I doing?  Was there really that big of a rush in my day that would preclude him from helping me make lunch?  He WANTS to help me make lunch.  When I really sit back to think about the culture I would like in my home, I realize that I want a home where we all work together as a unit.  And that can’t happen, unless I take the time to bring them into the everydayness of what needs to happen to make life work.

So we worked together on lunch.  The 6 year old soon joined us and was given a job.  We had the opportunity to learn about cleaning up after our messes since quinoa, pulled pork and shredded spinach didn’t always stay on plates and inside tortillas.  But we were working together and they were eager to participate!  All that was needed was for me to have a shift in my thinking .

And then another novel thought popped into my head.  “Why don’t you let them do some cooking on their own.”  I’ve allowed them to ‘help’ me from time to time in the past and have now resolved to letting them help me out more, they are now old enough to start doing things independently too.  So I pulled out my old Kinder Krunchies cookbook and told the boys to look through it and decide on some things they wanted to make.  They were elated!

They settled on making cornbread and raced around the kitchen gathering ingredients.  It was a delight to watch them and only have to help out occasionally with asking questions to help them figure out where all of the ingredients were located. {you know saying things like, “no, next to your other hand.  other hand.  no, not that hand, your OTHER hand.”}

I love this cookbook because it has a pictorial element making it possible for even the preschooler to take part.  He loved being able to ‘read’ and tell his brothers the quantities needed. 

{ooooh, I just love my future little helper!}

I modified dinner for the evening and made a white chili to go with the cornbread.  I should have enlisted their help, for my reading skills were pretty lacking.  I mistakenly added red pepper to the chili instead of chili powder… It took a lot of work to salvage the chili and make it palatable.  Their cornbread certainly did save the day!
All-in-all a successful day.  The boys are so excited they are making plans to open a restaurant and invite people over to sample their many creations.  And I’m thankful for the reminder to get back on track with what I want to be doing with my family.

Observing Mother-Culture

Oh this picture makes my heart warm.  Last week sweet Greta and I hopped on a plane and went back to Michigan to visit my sister and her children.

We have talked extensively about the need to care for each other and our friends during the postpartum period.  It means so much to be supported during the healing and adjustment process after childbirth.  I loved hearing all of your ideas on how you enjoy being supported during the phase when I posed the question on facebook.  With her husband away for his first business trip after little Abraham arrived, Greta and I decided to go back and keep them company.

We cooked (and cleaned) and cooked (and cleaned).  But left her family with a freezer stocked full of nourishing meals!  I came bearing new baby gifts for my niece and nephew (because they should be able to sling their ‘babies’ too!) and hung out with my niece during ‘rest time’ so mama could nap!  Thankfully, her guy was almost 8 weeks old, because we did end up talking and praying for one another when we could have been going to bed earlier…  

I snapped pictures of her and her little guy because that little phase is so fleeting and should be captured on film.  Isn’t he just precious?

There is something powerful about being in another’s home.  It gives you the chance to observe the culture they are creating.  Remember how we as mothers are creating the culture of our home and shaping the future?

Watching my sister lovingly interact with her children, snuggle with her newborn, lovingly – yet consistently address the training of her strong-willed child inspire me.  She has strengths that I don’t possess.  It excited me to return home and continue to pour into my own children, to take care with setting the ambiance of my home, to love my husband.  It reminded me of the importance of inviting other women into my home and taking advantage of opportunities to go into the homes of others.  As mothers, we have much to offer one another in the form of encouragement, inspiration and reminders to take care in cultivating the atmosphere of our homes, our interactions with our children and the building of our marriages.

In other news, she started teaching me how to knit.  Now I just have to remember what she taught me and hopefully between that and youtube, I’ll be able to tackle the beautiful knit hat I’m envisioning for Greta!  Cast on, knit and pearl, knit and pearl.  Right? 

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle…

I’m sure you all are familiar with the phrase,

“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

As mothers, we are creators of culture.  We have the awesome privilege and responsibility to train up the next generation.   We are not merely cooking, cleaning or simply keeping our children clothed and alive {although some days that seems like a miraculous feat in and of itself}.  We are cultivating the very culture that will shape who they become…

By how we interact with our husbands they learn the value of marriage and how to get along with one another.  By how we interact with our children, they learn of their own value.  By how we spend our time, they learn about what really matters in life.  By how we treat others, they internalize how to do the same.  By choices we make, our children learn what to value, how to relate to others, how to relate to God, what marriage looks like and how to view the adventure of learning.

We are creating culture whether we like it or not.

And lately, I’ve found this sobering, especially as I’ve seen some of my less attractive qualities on full display in my children.   Thankfully, this isn’t cause for despair.  I am realizing what a gift it is to recognize those less desirable qualities staring back at me NOW.  God is at work in me.  He is faithful to remind me of the wonderful opportunity I have to directly influence these four lives.

Fellow mothers, we are in a 24-7 discipleship ministry.  We must not lose heart. God not only calls us to train and disciple our children, but then He also fills us with His Spirit and empowers us to do so.  So today, I draw close to the Lord.  I purpose in my heart to say ‘no’ to the flesh and ‘yes, please’ to the Spirit as I seek His guidance in how to go about this glorious task of ‘creating culture.’