How to Build Courage in Sons + Daughters

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Open doors… even ones opened just a little are before each of us! Sometimes we have to wrestle them open all the way to do the thing Jesus is calling us to~and it takes unbelievably hard, grueling work!

Have you read about Gladys Aylward? Oh my goodness, it’s phenomenal how she pushed open a door slammed shut in her face by men, so that she could do the thing she was passionate for and called to do. We are studying Early American History this year, but we had a couple of books from last year’s study of the world that we hadn’t read yet, and I just couldn’t leave this one behind! I grew up (thinking) I knew her story through a movie based on her life, but it really is nothing like her real story!! Her depth of courage and character, all that she endured and prayed and accomplished is in the book! If you need a true heroine for you or your daughters, read “Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime.” Even my ten-year old son was on the edge of his seat begging for another chapter + my older ones gasped at the courage displayed in a few of the accounts given. Best kind of #thriller 😍 .

Phil and I often pray that in these increasingly dark days, our children will be equipped to love boldly and stand firmly for Christ. We know that this will only happen by the grace of God on each of their lives, but feel strongly that we are called and equipped to raise them up purposefully in a way that will strengthen them for their callings!

Teach them to enjoy hard work. Physical work in daily chores, plus walks or hikes, pushing them to do more than they thought they could (age appropriate) builds character!!

Know the Word of God: Reading + Memorizing Scripture builds their faith and gives them truth to reference when a difficult situation arises in their life.

Read Living Books: This gives amazing courage and sense of adventure with God by reading these stories of Christians who have gone before us ~ these are a few of the most important things we are discovering!

When faced with possible death at the hands of communist rulers Gladys prayed, “If I must die, let me not be afraid of death, but let there be a meaning, Oh God, in my dying.”  And isn’t that what we all want?! To live and die with purpose and meaning!! My children gasped aloud when we came to the part where Gladys witnessed the questioning of two hundred Chinese students as to whether they would pledge allegiance to a communist party or to Christ. When the each chose Jesus, the general ordered that they all be harassed and pressured by fellow students for a month, and then asked them again. This happened several times, and finally, they were faced with certain death if they didn’t deny Jesus. The first young woman questioned, replied, “Sir, three moths ago I thought Jesus Christ was real, and I thought the Bible was true. Now after three months of your hatred, I KNOW Jesus Christ is real, and I KNOW the Bible is true.”

Now that’s the courage I want in my own heart, and of course that of my children!

“I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name.”

If you have favorite books and historical characters (and other tips) for building courage in your children, I’d love to hear about them!

Rainy Day Work

Her face will stay with me for a long time, haunting my days~waking me in the nighttime hours. A beautiful young woman with the most gorgeous skin tone and curly brown hair~walking determinedly, loudly spouting off her reasons of why she had to do it. There was no other possible way.

The rain fell steadily all morning. Wrapped in ponchos and sheltered beneath large umbrellas, we were wrapped securely in the knowledge that we were in the right place for this moment. Doing the work of speaking truth, pleading for the cause of the children, and for those who walked not three feet in front of us, most times herded, and what could safely be called intimidated along by two strong men, into a dark and bloody place. The desire to preserve and save a life~upwards of twenty lives a day~does not always end in success. Sometimes you simply obey~and trust~that your presence fills a place in the gap, that for today nobody crossed the threshold of that terrible place without knowledge of the truth, without causing a moment of “pause” in which they could have chosen life. The rain pouring down felt like a welcomed friend, crying down the tears welling inside that hadn’t yet found their way out.

Her baby would have been absolutely beautiful. It hurts beyond words to know what has happened to that little boy or girl. Ripped apart, piece by piece, from the safest place on earth. Oh, Jesus, forgive us. Reassembled on a tray to be sure every part of a precious human being has been removed. God, how did we ever get to a place where mothers allow this crime to be done against their bodies and their descendants? To be thrown out with tonight’s garbage. The very creation of a Holy, tender, righteous Lord~ How, Jesus? For the first time in my life, my arms feel empty because another woman’s baby has died. Back in the shelter of my home and in the arms of a man who loves me and values children, and LIFE, my tears join the rain. Deep sadness for all we have lost. Grief for the grief she will undoubtedly walk through after today.

One of her final questions as she passed through that dirty glass door, half covered with black paper was “You’d get up in the night with this baby!? Really!?”

We’ll already be awake in the night, love. A beautiful brown-skinned, curly-haired baby to carry us through would have been no trouble at all.

“Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children…” Lamentations 2:19

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Simple Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

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1 gallon milk: heat to 180 degrees
Cool in kettle (about 2 hours) till it’s still warm, but not too hot to touch.

1/8 teaspoon yogurt culture  (found at health food stores OR 1 cup plain yogurt with live active cultures.
1/2 teaspoon stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons knox gelatin dissolved in 1/2 cup water (optional)

Put the yogurt mixture into mason jars and set inside an oven that has been preheated to 100 degrees. (Alternative method is to place inside an ice chest in 100 degree water). Let set in the oven 8-12 hours. Refrigerate.

Tips: I rarely use a thermometer anymore when making yogurt. But if you’re just starting out, you may want to! I just heat the milk til it develops that “skin” layer on top and then turn it off to cool. I also know it’s cool enough to add the culture when I can put my finger into it for a couple of seconds …. you don’t want it cooled completely, but neither do you want it too hot as it can kill the yogurt culture.

The gelatin is optional. In the early years, I always added the gelatin, but now I usually skip this step and it turns out beautifully. The richer the milk, like say Jersey cow milk for example, the thicker the yogurt! For Lancaster County locals, milk from Lapp Valley farms makes amazing yogurt!

For plain yogurt to use in cooking recipes, just omit the stevia and vanilla of course! :)

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