What would your mother do? Encourage.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

Mom gave us baked beans for lunchMy mom encouraged me. I remember one of the first encouragements she gave me, when I really might have needed correction on any other similar occasions: I’d been playing with my food on my plate.

The menu that day was hot dogs and plain old pork ‘n’ beans, so everything I needed was at the table already.

I began stirring relish, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar into the beans on my plate. After a sample, I told my mom how good it was. She questioned me, I explained, and that’s when it happened: A new gourmet cook was born at that very lunch table. My mom exclaimed that if I could determine exactly what should go into carefully-crafted old style “baked beans”, then I must be a natural-born cook.

I felt pretty pleased with myself and I never forgot it.

Encouragement can go the other way, too, dragging a person up from a low place, where I was during third grade.

It was election time in our country and in school, we had a mock election, dividing the class into three political parties.

It was rigged. All the popular kids were in one party, the brilliant-student-types in another, and we misfits (the sickly, overweight, or otherwise unacceptable ones) were in the third party. I leave you to guess who won, but will add: I perfected the art of sickly by having one of my semi-annual cases of step throat during the vote. Yeah, we came in last. Amazing, no? We’d had such hopes. We did our best. We mined our mom’s ideas for sure-fire campaign tactics, made posters, and delivered speeches, all for naught.

After a phone call came to our sick-house regarding the results, my mom so tenderly relayed them to me. I cried. She held me and asked me to try to be a big girl, to think what the other children would think of my crying…

I remember the moment so clearly, like the movie re-run it has always been in my mind. I remember feeling rebellious and sort of amazed at myself for what I said at that point.

“I don’t even care what the CRY-BABIES think!”

She did not reprimand me. She did not scold my out-lashing little self. She just held me until it blew over.

And that quiet response told me far more than any words could. She understood. She cared. She had my back.

So when did your mom encourage you? Share.

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What would your mother do? Share.

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Here’s the next part of a short series about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best.

My mom would shareMy mom shared. The sixth child of a woman whose husband died young during the Great Depression, my mom knew exactly how it felt to be in need. One of her favorite sayings was, “We might need that someday.” Considering the entire course of her life, that was exactly true.

Her other saying was, “The poor people in (insert your favorite country, here) would kill to get what you’ve got.” Also probably true, more than we’d like to realize.

Given her context, what else could my mom do but share, and by example, teach her children to share.

And so it was that while she always made her children clothing, she also spent some time on a church ladies’ project of making clothing for poverty-stricken people elsewhere. In fact, the first time she ever took on the task of making a man’s long-sleeved shirt, it was for a man she’d never met in Cambodia, a country she’d never heard of.

And when a vacationing family had a wreck near our town and lost the dad, spending time in the hospital in our town, she took me shopping for the poor children who’d lost their dad. And arranged for a friend to take them in, since they were not really injured, and could enjoy his horses and pleasant estate, as a sort of therapy, until the mother could arrange their affairs.

And if there was not enough dessert to go around, my mom always pretended she was full.

What did your mom share with others? Think hard–if she was modest about it, you might have to examine clues to realize it…

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What would your mother do? Fix things!

What can one mom even do to make a difference?

We moms need to know this.

Starting a short series here, today, about all the huge little things moms do. It’s not a contest, but let’s all tell about our memories of those little things that mean so much, that only moms know how to do best. ❤

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American f...

[Unidentified girl in dress holding American flag and ball] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

So here’s mine, for today: I was tiny, but I remember the dress so vividly. My mom was shocked I ever remembered it because she said I was only two years at the time. I do remember it, though. It was my favorite dress. Why I loved it so, I am not sure. It was brown plaid, which I like a lot, to this day. It had ruffly lace and puffy sleeves. I don’t know, really, what it was.

But I loved it.

This was back in the days before perma-press, back when little girls always wore dresses, even at play. Always.

And froze our little bare legs off in winter, in case you wondered.

Anyway, I loved me a dress.

Then one day the horrible happened. I spilled my milk on my favorite dress. I was devastated. I could not begin to understand much of anything, yet, but I knew I did not like the way my favorite dress looked, now. So I did what any red-blooded American two-year-old would do.

I cried.

My mom couldn’t understand, and asked me what was wrong. When I told her about the spill, I remember what she did.

She got down, sort of sitting on her heels, at face-to-face level with me, and told me it was okay, that she could wash the dress and it would be fine again.

Those of you who’ve read here a long time, know what happened next. And you know what good it did. The rest of you can read the links. Have fun!

And share with us your story: What did you mess up, in your childhood, that your mom knew how to fix? Aren’t moms great!

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How to Make a Man Cry—Memorize

BibleI’ve always taught my children to memorize the Bible. I think it is good for their spirits, good for their souls, and even good for their bodies, if they heed it.

People seldom made me memorize anything until I was fourteen, but I remember much of it, today. I want my grown children to have lots and lots of the Word hiding in their hearts, and they do. It was worth all the work, just for that benefit.

Several times, though, we realized a different benefit.

I always had my children recite their memory work during our homeschool closing programs. It always was a large Scripture portion, such as The Book of James or The Letters to the Seven Churches. One night, when they recited Hebrews 11, “The Faith Chapter”, one preacher in attendance asked if we could recite it again, at his church, during the normal worship time.

After that presentation, a man remarked to me that it was such a great essay and wondered if I had written it, or where he could get a copy of it. Hmm.

I assured him I am not that great a writer, that it had been a selection from Scripture. He was astonished, said he’d never read anything that good in the Bible before. I gave him the reference. He marveled and promised he would go home and read it again, with the children’s voices still sounding in his ears, and seek for more meaning. Hmm.

But another time tops this. One night my children recited “The Sermon on the Mount”. Our youngest bravely wanted to help recite and assured me he could, although he was only seven at the time. I wondered at the wisdom of it, but knew the audience would forgive a flawed recitation from one so young. I knew this, especially since he desired to recite solo the entire parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders”.

As the presentation progressed, I felt good about it. My children were totally prepared for this and giving, truly, one of their best recitals. However, as they neared the end, and my young son’s solo, he began to waver. After several bobbles, though, he collected himself and made it through to the end.

Bravo, Darling.

Later, I asked him what was wrong, what made him fearful. He replied, “When I saw that man in the audience crying, I thought I was doing a bad job.”

Further checking revealed this man in a rumpled suit, slumped down in his pew and openly mopping tears from a crumpled face, was the back-slidden relative of one of our group.

Oh, the power in the voice of a young child reciting Scripture! A grown man weeping to hear it, a churched man desiring to read it, what more could a mother want for reward?

Only this: that they would remember it, walk in it, and turn and teach it to their own.

Another story in this series here!

Nothing scarier than a fire set by an inventive child. Near your garage. On a windy day. How did we survive?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

Mary and Martha and humble pie

Mary and Martha and Me

When I Was a Turkey

Several years ago our family tried a Thanksgiving experiment.

Instead of buying our Thanksgiving dinner, we only priced it and sent the amount to a mission.

We then asked God to give us a meal from His own hand that we could see was especially from Him. In our minds, it had to be cost-free, although this wasn’t a demand—we simply decided to see what He would do about our commitment. We were willing to take whatever He gave….

I know, I know, God gives us the strength, intellect, and grace to be able to earn the money, drive to the store, and so forth.

But we learned something from letting go of it like this: He can also sovereignly give us the actual food itself, just because we are waiting upon Him. This caused us to be thankful toward God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider), rather than wondering what in the world He has to do with our celebration.

The experiment became a kind of tradition for a few years. Each year was different; it was not always turkey and stuffing. We had chicken, duck, venison, and my favorite, the smoked turkey that appeared one day while we were gone.

Meat was always the test for me because I did not consider the free things from our garden as “too hard” for God.

See what I mean?

I needed this.

Everything about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this way was a big adventure. We had to improvise, learning as we went. We felt, indeed we were, exactly like pioneers.

We pretended Good-Old-Days, but they were, in reality, very good days.

We certainly were excited about all sorts of food and I think we ate better. The meat often was not processed. We had honey instead of sugar. And we were so thankful. We couldn’t help it—it just flowed from all that was happening.

Another unexpected result came of the experiment.

We questioned the entire “Thanksgiving Tradition”.

  • Sweet potatoes did not have to be candied, did they?
  • Whipped topping didn’t have to be fatty.
  • Crab applesauce was as good as cranberry.
  • The chestnuts off of our tree were excellent in stuffing.
  • Squash pie tasted just like pumpkin.

We learned to take our local blessings, instead of exotic imported foods, and spread them out into a feast that gave glory to the God Who provides for His own.

And more blessings! 

In our excitement, we also forgot to be harried. I, at least, emerged on the other side of the wall that separates us from gently rejoicing in God. He seemed so near. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Most of the United States was celebrating a day that, when it was established, in purpose and practice, was truly Christian. Thanksgiving has no questionable past. It has traditionally had no worldly festivities attached to it. It is simply a day set aside for our Christian nation, by its Christian leaders, to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

go-your-way-eat-the-fat-and-drink-the-sweet-and-send-portions-unto-them-for-whom-nothing-is-prepared-for-this-day-is-holy-unto-our-lord-nehemiah-8-10-1Into that quiet beauty, I had often inserted the bustle of a worldly attitude.

Suddenly, His delightful indulgence was leading me away from my prideful ideas about meal preparation. How humbling it was to be learning at His feet, and yet, how glorious.

It doesn’t matter if you use the recipes you will find, on this site, for “your dinner”, or even if you go to someone else’s house for it. It doesn’t matter if you buy or raise the ingredients. But do learn to spend time before God. And truly thank Him. Every day.

______________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

Wonderful Smoked Turkey Habit. You will develop an addiction?

Our Thanksgiving Habit

One thing we do every year, almost as a habit, is smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. A huge turkey.

I’ve posted about it before, but this year we will make two of them, and I got photos for ya! So here goes:

1. Thaw, trim, and rinse turkey.

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

Rinsed 23 lb. Turkey

2. Pour charcoal into fuel portion of smoker.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

Enough charcoal for 12 hours.

3. Set into bottom of smoker.

Charcoal in place

Charcoal in place

4. Do whatever you do to light charcoal.

Light charcoal

Light charcoal

5.  Once charcoal is very hot and turning white, add grill, to sterilized it.

Burning off the grill

Burning off the grill

6. Once all flame dies down, carefully remove grill and insert empty water pan in place over (not on) charcoals, and replace grill over water pan. Carefully fill with about 1 1/4 gallons of water.

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

Water pan in place over charcoal and under grill

7. Place turkey on grill.

Turkey on grill in smoker

Turkey on grill in smoker

8. Close smoker and go to bed.

Good night!

Good night!

9. Do not check progress by opening smoker!

In the morning, you will have a lovely smoked turkey. The meat should be tender and pink like ham. The joints should be loose or separating. The skin should be crackling in places and dark from smoke. Mmm! Look here!

Any questions? Ask in the comments, below, and I’ll be happy to answer quickly!

Have fun!


Edit to add: Our smoker is nearly burned out. 😦 Worst part is that we canNOT find another like it. Smaller ones do not work. Electric too expensive. The company that made our smoker just does not make them anymore. Help! 😉