Upcoming Colorado Conferences and Speakers

I wanted to post some info that I’ve run across over the past few weeks.

Sally and Clay Clarkson
The WholeHearted Child Home Education Workshop
September 7-8
New Life Church, Colorado Springs
http://wholeheart.org/whcalendaritem.php?eventid=17
This is two days (Friday and Saturday). Friday night is free and Saturday is paid. It looks great!

Jane Lambert (author of Five in a Row) and Amanda Bennett
Grace Point Community Church, Littleton
October 13, 10am-2pm
Email mpskra{at}comcast{dot}net for more information.
Also find more information here.

Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller (Authors of “Say Goodbye to Whining…”)
http://www.biblicalparenting.org/schedule.asp
October 13, 2007
Saturday 8:45 am to 2:30 pm
Bad Attitudes, Anger, and Accepting No as an Answer
Presenters: Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
Westminster Church of the Nazarene
3501 W 104th Ave
Westminster, Colorado 80031
A children’s program is provided to complement what the parents are learning.
The cost is $30 per couple, $20 per individual.
For more information or to register, please call (303) 469-5149.

November 10, 2007
Saturday 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
Start with the Heart: The Parenting Seminar
Brought to you by the International Network of Children’s Ministry
Heritage Evangelical Free Church
555 N Heritage Ave
Castle Rock, Colorado 80104
A children’s program is provided to complement what the parents are learning.
The cost is $15 per adult, $5 per child.
Register online at incm.org
For more information call (303) 660-9911.

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The Proverbs 31 Woman – A real “helpmeet”

I would love to blog about this book a million times! It is great! Unfortunately my time is limited with it (it is a library book), so I guess I’ll just have to hit the main points that I enjoyed and that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere.

Patricia Gundry writes this book so well, and does an amazing job at balancing femininity with strength. She provides a wonderful example for how this can be done, despite what many other books on this passage try to say. She tackles important issues for all women, including being a hard worker, trustworthy, strong, beautiful, not manipulative, a bargain hunter, a planner, an investor, a provider, and praiseworthy. I have read many other books on Proverbs 31, and none of them capture the context and the relevance of what is being said to King Lemuel the way that Gundry does in this book.
Here are some of my highlights from a few chapters.

On women who manipulate (re: Proverbs 31:12 “She does him good and not harm all the days of her life”)

Women manipulate men… I always wondered why women are so tempted to do it… Why would women like Marabel Morgan or Helen Andelin justify it with Bible verses, case histories, and personal examples of their own approach to pragmatism in marriage?

I think they do it because they live in a double bind. Women are the underdogs in the family and society. So they gravitate toward survival methods common to underdogs, methods that are as old as the Fall.

Here’s how it works: the underdog is afraid to approach her superior directly. Though direct approach is effective some of the time, too often it is not. When dealing with a superior power that is also unscrupulous and unfair, being direct is often dangerous. Underdogs learn to manipulate in order to get along–or survive.

Manipulation is demeaning both to the one doing it and to the unsuspecting victim. If you’re a woman, your actions say to the man you victimize, “You aren’t very bright, or honorable. If you were smart, you would see through my tricks. If you were honorable, they wouldn’t be necessary.”

This kind of scheming has further disadvantage. It makes close, honest relationships between people impossible.

Amen. I have read so many books for Christian women that only teach women how to be manipulative. They tell you how to get your way: How to convince your husband to do what you want without him knowing it. Its sick, and it makes me so sad that Christian women stoop to that level.
On the Proverbs 31 woman and when she opens her mouth compared to other women

I think inborn nature has nothing to do with the incidence of shrewish or razor-tongued women. It’s as simple as this: those who can’t fight with their fists learn to fight with words. We develop skill with the weapons we have. We also pick up the skill by observing the skilled practicioners who precede us. It is often passed from mother to daughter with success.

Women tend to practice and gain skill on men who are vulnerable. Sometimes this involves practicing on male children who are extremely defenseless. They grow up to be easy targets for other female verbal assaults.

I found this section really interesting. I have quite the razor tongue. As a matter of fact, even long after dh and I were married, I had never “lost” a fight. My quick wit and tongue allowed me to be a more skilled arguer than any boyfriends had ever been. I ended up thinking I was always right. It was a humbling blow to find out that not only was I often wrong, but I also manipulated situations because I could argue better.

She goes on to address an interesting cycle she has noticed. I have seen this for myself, especially in church, which is so sad.

We women are too easily tempted to vent our anger on male children. I have seen it happen so often. A family who lived near us years ago went through a weekly cycle. Over the weekend the husband harassed his wife. On Monday she terrorized their oldest child, a boy (who looked like his father and had the same name) about a year older than my daughter. On Tuesday the boy was out for blood and my kids got it from him…

It is the old pecking-order sequence: we can’t hit back at those who are stronger, so we find excuses to take out our anger on those who are weaker. I firmly believe that much male hostility to women is a result of this vicious circle. Women are repressed and put down by men or by a male-dominated system. Mothers sometimes take out their resentment on their young sons; and teachers and others over children, on little boys in their charge. Those little boys grow up with an accumulated load of unconscious resentment toward women that has been years in the making. They then pass it on to the women who become vulnerable to them.

I’ve never seen this addressed in writing before, but it makes me think of a family whose son was in the Sunday School class that I taught. I would see the end of the cycle, as the mother would take her aggression out on her son as they would walk through the church. He would then come into the class and take his aggression out on the other children. He would often make the other 2 and 3 year olds so upset that they would physically shake. I would have to remove him from the classroom to protect the other children. It was heartbreaking because he was only acting out on what he knew. He was only 3.

I don’t want to make this too long, so I’ll just give one last quote from the end where she is talking about the translation of “helpmeet.”

This verse has been traditionally understood to mean that God created woman as a kind of glorified girl Friday for Adam. A nice girl, but slightly substandard and needing a man to supervise her work. The words help and meet have been condensed by common usage into helpmeet. We have been taught that this means woman should be a helper to man, not his equal.

But in Hebrew, the original language, the words ezer and neged do not have the connotations we have given them. Ezer means “help” all right, but not secondary help or assistant, as in assistant to the president. It means help in the way God helped Israel. The word is used in the Old Testament to refer to help by a superior force, such as help by God, as in Psalm 121:1,2

I raise my eyes towards the hills.
Whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

The word ezer is never used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to subordinate or inferior help.

Neged (“meet”) is a preposition in Hebrew and cannot be translated as a preposition in English and still retain the sense. It means “corresponding to,” “fit for,” “meet for.” In other words, God created woman as a real help to Adam, someone who was like him, suitable in every way. There is no hint of inferiority for woman in the original account.

Good stuff.

This book also has a ton of practical advice. She talks about keeping your home, ways to find your passion for a cottage / work-at-home industry, time management strategies, and ways to enjoy your work and bless your family. I really highly recommend it :)

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A vision for our homes

I want my home to be a laboratory of life, a place where my children and husband may flourish and feel loved, encouraged, spiritually refreshed, and emotionally prepared to face the work God has for them in life. I want it to be a place where they can learn in safety yet be challenged to grow.

Isn’t that an awesome quote?

Yesterday I was reading and thinking, and this quote just jumped off of the page. This is exactly what I want for my family. What a beautiful vision!

I also want my home to be the best place to be in the minds of my family. Peace and acceptance, excellence and a passion for living, comfort and funn–I want all these qualities to come to my children’s minds when they think about home. If I can succeed in creating a nurturing environment that speaks peace to their souls even as it helps them grow, I will feel that I have done my job as keeper of my domain.

::nodding emphatically::

…Chores are done the same way each day, week, and month of the year so that our children know what to do and when. Each child has a part of the kitchen to do… Whoever cooks does not have to spend time cleaning the kitchen. Rooms are to be picked up at a certain time before dinner… My sons will definitely know how to be a help to their wives because home maintenance was a routine part of their daily lives

See, this is a big part of why I love this book. It talks about all of the weys to create the “traditional” comforts of a home, and yet it is not sexist at all. It treats all children equal when it comes to responsibility. Girls learn to think and boys learn to clean up after themselves. One is not at home cleaning up while the other one gets to explore. Go figure!

Earlier today I was researching a curriculum that someone had mentioned, and these were the skills taught for the boys and girls. Note that the boys get to learn leadership skills, literature, public speaking skills and “knowledge” while the girls get to do basketweaving. Yay!

For the boys:

BIBLICAL MANHOOD 16

Bible Memory 17
Bible Reading 20
Personal Journal 24
Prayer Warrior 25
Proverbs Study for Boys 27

FIELD AND FOREST 42

Archery 43
Birds 48
Butterflies 51
Camping 55
Ecology 60
Horses 63
Insects 66
Outdoor Life 71
Plants 76
Pocketknife 82
Trees 84
Wildlife 88

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS 93

Astronomy 94
Chess 99
Computers 102
Drawing .106
Electricity 110
Finances 115
Fire Safety 118
First Aid 121
Foreign Language 123
Gardening 125
Genealogy 132
Health and Fitness 136
Home Care 141
Hygiene 144
Kites 148
Knots 155
Leatherworking 167
Models .174
Oil Painting 178
Pets 182
Photography 185
Poetry 188
Rocketry 192
Rocks and Minerals 198
Sign Language 203
Small Engine Repair 205
Stamp Collecting 208
Tools 212
Typing 224
Watercolors 226
Weather 228
Woodburning 233
Woodcarving 236
Woodworking 243

LEADERSHIP 247

Biography 248
Library 254
Literature 257
Music 260
Organization 264
Propriety 265
Public Speaking 267
Scheduling 269
Scholarship 274
Stewardship 277
Storytelling 282
Teaching 284
Writing 286

OTHERS 291

Bus Worker 292
Church 294
Family 297
Friends 303
Grandparents 307
Great Commission 310
Letters 311
Love 315
Missionary 320
Neighbor 322
Others 325
Rest Home 327
Special Needs 329
Widows 333

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES 335

Badminton 336
Bicycle 338
Croquet 342
Fishing 344
Golf 347
Hiking 350
Ice Skating 354
Swimming 357
Table Tennis 356
Tennis 357
Volleyball 359

and the full girls’ list

General Information

Purpose, Goal, Verse, Prayer 12
Keepers at Home Theme Song 13
Achievement Awards 14
Biblical Girlhood 16
Bible Memory 17
Bible Reading 20
Personal Journal 24
Prayer Warrior 25

Creative Skills 27

Basketweaving 29
Calligraphy 33
Candlemaking 36
Candlewicking .43
Ceramics 47
Counted Cross Stitch .49
Crewel Embroidery 53
Crochet 56
Decoupage 58
Dollmaking 60
Drawing 63
Embossing 67
Embroidery 71
Flower Arrangement 75
Knitting 78
Latch Hooking 82
Macrame 84
Miniatures 91
Needlepoint 92
Oil Painting 96
Photography 100
Plastic Canvas 103
Pressed Flowers 106
Quilling 110
Quilting 115
Rubber Stamping 120
Scrapbooking 124
Spinning 127
Stenciling 130
Tatting 133
Tole Painting 136
Watercolors 140
Weaving 142
Homemaking 147
Baking 148
Budgeting 150
Cake Decorating 153
Camping 155
Cleaning 157
Cooking 160
Fire Safety 166
First Aid 169
Food Preservation 171
Gardening 175
Health and Fitness 182
Home Decorating 187
Hygiene 189
Ironing 193
Laundry 194
Organization 196
Proverbs 31 Study for Girls 199
Scheduling 209
Sewing 214
Soapmaking 216
Knowledge and Skills 220
Biography 221
Computer. 227
Foreign Language 230
Genealogy 232
Library 236
Literature 239
Music 242
Poetry 244
Sign Language 248
Storytelling 250
Teaching 252
Typing 254
Writing 256
Nature 260
Birds 261
Butterflies 264
Flowers 268
Horses 270
Insects 273
Pets 278
Trees 281
Wildflowers 285
Others 287
Bus Worker 288
Child Care 290
Church 292
Ecology 295
Etiquette 298
Family 300
Friends 306
Grandparents 310
Hospitality 313
Letters 316
Love 320
Missionary 325
Neighbor 327
Others 330
Rest Home 332
Special Needs 334
Witnessing 338

Recreational Activities 339

Badminton 340
Bicycle 342
Croquet 346
Hiking 348
Ice Skating 352
Swimming 353
Table Tennis 354
Tennis 355
Volleyball 357

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Does God punish us?

Joe and I had the most amazing conversation last night about God’s character and how that translates into our marriage and our parenting. I’m hoping to do a couple of blog series on the stuff that we discussed because it was really awesome.

The conversation started with a discussion of God’s character and whether or not God punishes us. The way that you answer this question not only changes the way that you look at God, but also the way you relate to Him, the way you talk to yourself and respond when you sin, and the way you respond to others when they sin. This is such an important topic, and its one that Christians are really wishy washy on…

I believe we sometimes experience consequences of our sin, however I do not believe that God punishes us, especially after we repent and ask for forgiveness. When we are forgiven it is complete. There may be consequences that happen from our sin, but I do not believe that God actively punishes us.

Hebrews 8:12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.

Hebrews 10:15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16″This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b] 17Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c] 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God teaches us by grace. He gives us grace and we respond. When we repent, we are forgiven.

I think of how this applies in my life and how I often choose not to follow in God’s pattern. If I sin, I often want to do to myself what Satan would like for us to do: to isolate, tell myself that I am not worthy of love, and to hide in shame. I am basically putting myself in time out. I withdraw myself from those who love me and tell myself how terrible I am. This is not how God handles us at all! When we sin, we are supposed to do just the opposite. We should confess and be healed!

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

The Christian community almost encourages outward “sinlessness” above heart change. I think that many of our marriage and parenting methodologies try to make everything pretty on the outside, and yet never address the heart.

If I raise children that act perfect on the outside, but don’t have it in their heart, then I have failed! Why does the evangelical community (and our curriculums in particular) keep missing this fact?

The focus on outward appearances has made generation after generation of Christians who do not want to admit their sin and who try to act as if they are perfect. We try to push this perfection on others. The problem is that it is superficial. It is not true. How much better off would the Christian community be if it were filled with believers who admitted their mistakes, tried to be better, and lived in grace?

So why is it that we model to our children and to each other a completely different gospel? Why do we continue to punish ourselves, each other, and our children when that is not the way that God teaches us?

I think that a lot of us are in fear that if our spouse, our friends, or our children are not “punished” when they admit sin to us, then they will have “gotten away” with what they did wrong. I am guilty of fearing this. The fact remains that this is NOT how God teaches us though. He does not make us pay when we confess our sin. He shows us grace.

I’m off to think some more. Please feel free to share any thoughts )

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The punitive mindset

Although I have spent plenty of time trying to explain it, I still find that many of my friends (the non-GBD kind) don’t see how coming from a punitive mindset changes everything about their discipline, even if the actions that they take are very similar to those of us who practice grace-based discipline.

Last night I finished Crystal Lutton’s Biblical Parenting, and I felt that she concluded with a great discussion of this point. Here she is using the example of a teenager who is about to get her license.

A healthy boundary for a parent to set with regards to their vehicle is that no one without insurance may drive their car. Tell your daughter in advance, perhaps at a famliy meeting, what will happen if she doesn’t keep up the insurance payments. I suggest that she not be allowed to drive your car without insurance. If she misses a payment, take her license and keys. When she catches up on the premiums, return them. This is not punitive. It is logic an adolescent can follow, and it prevents the natural consequence of being in an accident without insurance or a ticket for the same, and your daughter knows the consequences beforehand. This same action would be punitive if done reactively. If you’ve never discussed what will happen if she doesn’t keep up the premiums, it’s punitive to enter her room and demand her keys. Everything within the window needs to be proactive, not reactive.

That makes perfect sense, right? The behavior of the parents can change whether their actions are punitive or not. Its not just what you do… its how you do it.

In the above quote, Crystal also references her “window” which I thought was a great visual for showing how we are to react to our children in a way that is neither permissive nor punitive. I wish she had it online (she may, but I can’t find it), because I’d love to discuss it, but it’d be hard without the pictures.

Now that I’m done with the book, let me say that I truly enjoyed it. I would love it if our small group could study it. My only comment/concern is that I honestly don’t know that many of the men of the group could handle it in Chapter 2 when Crystal says (in speaking of how gender roles and the role of community has changed)

Because of this ever-increasing reliance on a husband to help in parenting the baby and young child, men’s ideas on how to parent children of this age have become more pronounced and are often seen as the “expert” advice. However, it is the woman who has been designed and called by God to parent these young people and, while the help of a husband/father is vital in our culture today, the man would be wise to follow his wife’s lead during these early years.

I totally, absolutely, completely see where she’s coming from, but I know that the military men in our group would piss their pants when they read that. If it was later in the book, I think that we could have a great discussion, but I think that the fact that it is so close to the front means that they wouldn’t even go on. I am sure that was not her intention at all, and they’d see that if they kept reading, but I don’t think they’d ever touch the book again

I’m hoping that our current group book Families Where Grace Is In Place will be enough of a gateway that we could later do Crystal’s book D

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