What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Windmill Step 3 and a backyard tour

We have made a little progress on our windmill. The posts for the guide lines are cemented in, and we picked up 600 feet of cable to use for the guidelines.

Our property has a lot of old big trees. No matter what location we picked, we had to have the tower bigger than the big trees.

Below you will see a closeup of the hinge mechanism on the tower base. We will use the bottom bolt as a hinge to lift the tower in position. Doug will be lifting it up with a cable and his tractor. Then we will put in the top bolt (3/4") and connect the guide lines to the cemented in posts.

And now I thought you'd enjoy some pictures of our backyard, where the windmill will be located. It is actually a pasture, too. When you walk out our sliding door, you are in the pasture. It is fun to watch the animals walk by while we are eating dinner. Behind the fence line, you can see that we are barely holding back the wilderness. We love it!

Our chicken coop, milking shed, and barn

The lovely willow trees that all the animals relax under

My new clothesline!
Doug has been meaning to put it up for five years, but he got real motivated when the dryer broke lol!

Friday, June 24, 2011

You did what?!!!

I know moms have eyes in the back of their head, but yesterday, mine were malfunctioning.
It has been raining all week, so the kids are crazy. I told them to clean up the living room while I continued to work in the office.
Isaac comes running in, screaming something completely unintelligible. I didn't have a clue. Finally I figured out that he swallowed a coin! And not just any coin. No, Isaac had to swallow a quarter (Oklahoma special edition, to be exact.)
I  spouted off some "What on earth were you thinking!!!" and then tried to determine the seriousness of the situation. He said his throat hurt. I got online to research. Emergency rooms! Esophageal blockage! One guy responded to a question on a forum with, "They'll be okay as long as they don't make change." Now, how helpful is that!
So I called my mom. She had swallowed a penny, but she was too little to remember. And we never did anything like that when we were kids. We were sensible children.
Next, I called Doug at work. One of his fellow pilots suggested ice cream. It would get him swallowing, but would melt rather than get stuck. No ice cream. So I fed him crushed ice. That seemed to help, and his throat started feeling better immediately. But how could we be sure that it was past the esophogas? From my research, once it hits the stomach, the majority of danger is over. The only way to tell for sure where it is would be an x-ray. And here I am, without my personal x-ray machine. :) But then Doug had a stroke of genius. Praise YHVH for the idea! What about the metal detector?
So I got out the metal detector and had Isaac lay down on the floor. I moved the metal detector in sweeping motions over him, and sure enough, it started beeping just below his nipple line! I tried it a few more times to confirm, and there it was, in the same spot every time. It seemed safe to assume that the quarter had made it to his stomach.
I decided to let him have some mushed up canned peaches. He ate two bowls with no problem. He slept in my bed, and several times during the night, I checked to make sure his chest was still going up and down. (How we mothers sacrifice!) This morning he has been eating fine, and when I scanned him again, the coin had moved into his small intestines. Now we wait.
Of course, he has been reciting, "Don't put anything in your mouth that isn't food!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Torah parenting - Noah

Torah parenting - Noah

Noah found favor in YHVH’s sight. He was “a model child” for our purposes. How did YHVH deal with the good kid?

(Gen 6:8)  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

(Gen 6:12)  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

(Gen 6:13)  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

(Gen 6:14)  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

(Gen 6:15)  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

(Gen 6:16)  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

(Gen 6:17)  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

(Gen 6:18)  But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

(Gen 6:19)  And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

(Gen 6:20)  Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

(Gen 6:21)  And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

(Gen 6:22)  Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

First, I would like to point out that there was a very serious situation going on. YHVH was about to destroy the whole planet. But, since Noah was trustworthy and faithful, YHVH chose to share the details with him. Sometimes our children are in a position of maturity and trustworthiness where we can share burdens with them, and they can be of great help. They can pray with us and see prayers answered. They can help with extra work that must be done. And since they have been told why we are struggling, they are happy to pull their weight and be a help to the family. What a blessing this is! Don’t underestimate your children in a time of need. They want to feel that they are part of the team. They don’t need every single detail or financial statement. They just need enough to know that everyone has to pull together and pray together and trust YHVH.

As I read through the instructions for building the ark, a scene began to play out in my mind. We ask our child to clean the bathroom. When we check it twenty minutes later, we are shocked to see that it looks worse than when they started. This could be rebellion, but it could also be ignorance. Did we ever take the time to show them how to clean the bathroom? Did we help them practice until they could do it to our specs? YHVH gave Noah the details he needed to do the job right. He didn’t simply say, “Build an ark.” That would be the equivalent of us saying to our children, “Build a barn.” We need to take the time to give them training. We need to show them what we expect. We need to walk them through it until they have mastered it.

In summary:

1. Encourage your children to mature and be team players by letting them in on family struggles. Lessons in faith, hard work, and empathy are in store for them.
2. Take the time to train your child in household jobs. They need to know exactly what is expected of them. Hold their hand until they can do it themselves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Torah parenting - Cain

Torah parenting - Cain

I am tempted to say that I am glad I do not have a son like Cain. But then I realize I must be very careful. A “Cain” could be waiting for me tomorrow. What can we learn from this very sad story?

Cain and Abel were different, with different personalities and tastes. Cain preferred working in the dirt, Abel preferred animals. But for some reason, Cain was found lacking. Let me just say that I don’t really think it matters what Cain did wrong, at least not for this purpose. The point is that we have a scenario where one child did well, and one child failed. How do we wisely handle this situation? Let’s take a look.

(Gen 4:1)  And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

(Gen 4:2)  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

(Gen 4:3)  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

(Gen 4:4)  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

(Gen 4:5)  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

(Gen 4:6)  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

(Gen 4:7)  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

(Gen 4:8)  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

(Gen 4:9)  And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

(Gen 4:10)  And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

(Gen 4:11)  And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

(Gen 4:12)  When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

(Gen 4:13)  And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

(Gen 4:14)  Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

(Gen 4:15)  And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

(Gen 4:16)  And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

First of all, we see that YHVH did not make a big deal about Cain’s offering. He did not accept it, but there is no patronizing, harping, embarrassing, or belittling. Cain is the one who immediately develops a bad attitude. He pitches a fit, as it were, and YHVH then has to deal with him. Cain is not a five year old, so YHVH does not treat him as such. He talks to Cain man-to-man, which can be done with little boys sooner than many people think. He asks Cain to explain his attitude. Then He logically explains to Cain where his behavior will take him. If he chooses to do right, blessing will follow. If he chooses to do wrong, curses will follow. (Sounds a bit like Torah, doesn’t it?) Then He leaves Cain to make his own decision. (Ouch! That’s a risky one. Are we willing to let our children make their own decisions? Again, remember that Cain is no five year old. This level of parenting is much farther down the road.)

Fast forward: Cain has obviously made the wrong decision. He has murdered his own brother. Even now, YHVH does not approach Cain in a belittling manner. But He makes it clear, with no question, that Cain has messed up very badly, and the curse that follows is inevitable. We reap what we sow, and that will never change. Cain was warned, and did not heed that warning. Now he must pay for what he has done.

Our children must pay the consequences when they do wrong. We cannot bail them out. We cannot make their sin disappear. The beauty of parenting is that we can have some control over those consequences while they are learning. But we mustn’t remove those consequences, or they will follow a path with consequences we cannot save them from.

Cain begged for mercy, and YHVH graciously gave him some. But please notice that the punishment did not change at all. YHVH simply promised to avenge Cain if anyone killed him. (That does not bring me much comfort.) If only Cain had corrected his bad attitude at the beginning of the story!

To summarize:

1. We must address bad attitudes before they become bad actions.

2. We need to warn our children diligently that they will reap what they sow. Take the consequence right down to the end of the road for them, so they can begin to see the seriousness of sin.

3. Use natural consequences for punishment whenever possible. Rig them if necessary. Spanking is essential when natural consequences are unavailable or too dangerous to inflict. For example, spank your child to train them to obey your voice. You cannot risk them getting injured by ignoring you.

4. Patiently instruct your child as you discipline. We are only asked to discipline as a tool to help our children stay on the right path.

5. Avoid comparing children. Each is unique, and each struggles in different areas. Deal with each as an individual.

I hope you are finding this study as helpful as I am. I am reevaluating myself as I go along, and see much room for improvement. As always, happy Torah parenting!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shavuot 2011

This will be mostly a picture post. We had a delightful time with extended family. Check out the fabric loaves the kids are waving! The pattern can be found in the "Torah Family E-magazine" Issue 1. Go download your copy now! Click on the tab at the top of the page. We hope you had a wonderful time, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Torah parenting - Adam and Eve

The theme of my website is "Torah family living." How can we apply Torah to everyday family life? What does the Torah say about parenting? Can we go beyond Deuteronomy chapter six, and the teaching that rebellious children are to be stoned? I think we can. But it might require a little thinking outside the box. :)

YHVH is our Heavenly Father, so it is not a stretch to say that He deals with us, the children of Israel, as a parent deals with children. Perhaps as we look at how He deals with His children, we can learn how to better deal with our children.

Our first stop is Genesis chapter 3, where we find the first sin.

(Gen 3:8)  And they heard the sound of Elohim walking about in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adand his wife hid themselves from the presence of Elohim among the trees of the garden.
(Gen 3:9)  And Elohim called unto Adand said to him, “Where are you?”
(Gen 3:10)  And he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
(Gen 3:11)  And He said, “Who made you know that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
(Gen 3:12)  And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.”
(Gen 3:13)  And Elohim said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(Gen 3:14)  And Elohim said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you are to go, and eat dust all the days of your life.
(Gen 3:15)  “And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed1. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel.”
(Gen 3:16)  To the woman He said, “I greatly increase your sorrow and your conception – bring forth children in pain. And your desire is for your husband, and he does rule over you.”
(Gen 3:17)  And to the man He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘Do not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you are to eat of it all the days of your life,
(Gen 3:18)  and the ground shall bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field.
(Gen 3:19)  “By the sweat of your face you are to eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you return.”

We've all been there. You walk into a room and see children with sticks, poised for the attack. One is sneaking up from behind, ready to throw a blanket over someone's head. The first thing that comes out of most parents' mouths is, "Who started it?"

But YHVH handles things a little differently. He walks into a situation and immediately senses that things are amiss. He knows they are hiding something, but He doesn't ask who the instigator was. He calmly begins an interrogation to find out what happened. He gives each person a fair shake at a response. He doesn't challenge their answers, even though they are unbelievably lame, and obviously excuses. Then He punishes everybody, because everybody did something wrong. I don't  know why many parents don't see that. We try to punish the person that started the mess. But if criminals were treated the same way, only the first robber through the bank door would be arrested. Rarely are there innocent bystanders in childhood quarrels. Someone may have started it, yes, but someone else will invariably finish it. So YHVH punishes everyone, but He does not dish out the same punishment to everyone. Satan crawls on his belly in the dust. Eve will have pain in childbearing, and Adam will work the ground by the sweat of his brow. Each one was given appropriate punishment for them individually. Children should be dealt with the same way, if possible. One child needs a stern talking-to, while another should lose priveleges, etc.

To summarize:
1. Don't look for instigators. Recognize the guilt in multiple parties.
2. Calmly collect the facts from each person.
3. Give each person a chance to give their side of the story without interruption, particularly from you.
4. Punish all who took part.
5. Give punishment suitable for the individual child. Punishing in a separate room allows you to give individualized attention without children comparing notes. For example, my husband disciplines in our bedroom. One child needs a gentle verbal reminder to obey, another may need a few swats and a talking-to. Then he can give them a hug, etc. and restore the relationship.

Happy Torah parenting!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cloth diapers

I am so happy to get Noah out of disposable diapers. Spending that money every week really bothers me, when all I am doing is throwing it away. You might have guessed that I'm not a fan of disposable anything. I used disposables to start with because his bum is so small and it's hard to get anything to fit. But he is growing so well that today, I was able to get him in cloth diapers. Here is a close up of what I am using right now.
Noah is wearing an infant sized prefold with pins. The cover is a fleece pull on cover, very easy to sew and use. The pattern can be downloaded free here:
Fleece pull on diaper cover pattern
In the past, I have knitted wool covers and longies. I actually sold them for awhile. But right now I like the convenience of throwing the fleece covers right in with the diapers to wash.

Elisha has a few different styles of covers. Some of them are pocket diapers, where you actually slide the prefold inside the diaper. His covers all have elastic around the legs and velcro closures. I think I will switch him to the pull on style for the summer so he can wear them like shorts.

I love the prefolds because of their versatility. I keep a pile of prefolds on the changing table, and can grab them for Elisha or Noah, and just use different covers. I can use pins, or lay them inside a cover, or stuff them in a pocket diaper.

Cloth diapers are totally doable. Give them a try!

Expert tip: Changing diapers all day can be pretty boring! Make it fun by tie dying your prefolds. Believe me, it will bring a smile to your face.  :)
"Mom, can I have my shirt back now?"

27 days

Noah has been here for 27 days now, and, boy, has he grown! He is already 10 lbs. which is just amazing to me. He looks so much bigger now, and is attempting to make facial expressions, which is so cute. He also reaches out to grab me with his hands, which is a reflex, but so sweet. He loves to just look around and gaze at faces. This picture was hard to get, because he was squirming so much, and the picture kept coming out blurry. :)
This is a picture of cousins getting together on Shabbat. It was an impromptu get together which made for a pleasant afternoon.

Our days are getting progressively smoother. We are settling into a new normal. I think the biggest help for me was giving myself permission to just be myself. I'm not the woman with the immaculate house, and I never will be. People want to be with me because they enjoy my lighthearted company and my smile, not my neatly folded clean laundry. Which is a good thing, because I don't think I have any neatly folded clean laundry lol! There is a line from a movie that goes: If you look people in the eye, they won't notice what you are wearing. That is so true! It also seems true that if I am my normal confident colorful self, people won't notice my surroundings. :) Does this mean that I let everything slide and put a sign on my door that reads, "My house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it," hoping no one will notice? Actually, I have found the opposite to be true. The less I worry about other people's standards, the more relaxed I become. The more relaxed I am, the more I accomplish. I feel like taking the time to read a story to the kids. I find delight in wiping that counter before I head off to bed. I'm really glad I tried that sourdough chocolate cake recipe. I don't feel guilty about ordering a kindle for myself with the cashback from our credit card. (It will be here Friday!)

In other words, I like me, and I would rather be me than try to fit in someone else's lifebox. I am the only one suited for my situation and I can handle it best when I embrace everything that YHVH put within me. If we can get a hold of this, it can only lead to good things! Many smiles to each of you. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Windmill Step 2

We succeeded in getting the base set in concrete today. It will have to set for at least seven days before we can continue. If you can see in the pic, we have big bolts going through the three poles. That was the tricky part, getting all the holes to line up so we could get the bolt through. The bottom bolt will act as a hinge when we lift the windmill in place. Doug worked quite a while to get everything level, and then braced it to hold everything in place. Now, hopefully, it will remain undisturbed until the seven days are up. :)

Windmill Step 1

We are installing a windmill! We were able to get a windmill kit with all the electrical components pre-wired. (Praise YHVH for tax returns!) So our major job is to get the tower installed and connect the wires to the house. Here is step 1 of our project. We dug the hole for our concrete base. Today we will be drilling some holes in our poles and hopefully get them cemented in.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A "girlie" service project

I love cloth pads. The disposable varieties drive me crazy, so give me my flannel! That said, I came across this blog post, and thought I would pass it along. It describes a ministry of making cloth pads for girls in other countries that need them. I think this is a wonderful idea, and some time in the future, I hope to participate. I would encourage you ladies to start with your own home, and perhaps make a few to send to another girl who would really appreciate them.

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