Kindness

“That in all the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:7.

What is the difference between being nice and being kind?

Let’s compare kindness with being nice.

Nice has the connotation of being agreeable, friendly, having manners, and being polite. A lot of it is based on how we want others to see us for what we do.

Kindness is based on doing something because of the love in your heart, and needs no recognition. While being kind will be nice, it comes from a different motivation.

Kindness is an attribute of God, but is not found consistently in humans. Kindness is found throughout the Bible, but the word “nice” is not found in the KJV. The human imitation of God’s kindness does not come naturally. None of us are kind. Only as a fruit of the Holy Spirit can we be truly kind.

Kindness will be gentle and mild. It will also treat those that disagree with you (or are even being mean to you) in a Christlike manner with love and respect.

Kindness is how we are on the inside, our character, because of the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives, and will cause us to be sensitive to the physical, emotional, or spiritual needs of others.

Kindness is the way love behaves. It is love in action. A person is kind because of God’s love living in them. They will be kind even if the other person does not deserve it.

In our culture today we talk about random acts of kindness. Kindness is not a random act. That would be a nice act. It is not wrong to do these things, but if you’re not nice or kind at other times, have you really changed anything? But, if you are kind to all, like buying someone’s lunch or coffee, and all the time, are you really making a difference in the world?

As we seek to instill in our children the character traits we want to see in them (and us), let us be careful that we have them examine why they do something nice.

In summary, you could say that it encompasses the fruit of the Spirit, because it is patient, gentle, has goodness (doing good/nice deeds), meek, and temperate, while being done with love, joy,and peace.

I have appreciated this quote from Ellen White: “To love as Christ loved means to manifest unselfishness, at all times and in all places, by kind words and pleasant looks,” MS 17,1899.

Holidays

People who read this blog come from many countries, and have different backgrounds. Some are new Adventists, and some have been for many years or all their lives. Because there are a lot of different beliefs regarding how holidays are celebrated, I thought I’d share some quotes from Adventist Home, by Ellen White, that have helped our family and others understand how she thought they should be kept.

“I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children. On these days when there is danger that our children will be exposed to evil influences and become corrupted by the pleasures and excitement of the world, let the parents study to get up something to take the place of more dangerous amusements. Give your children to understand that you have their good and happiness in view,” (AH pg.472 & 1T pg.514,515).

We should not just let the days pass by, but provide something good for them. Specifically about Christmas she says, “As the twenty-fifth of December is observed to commemorate the birth of Christ, as the children have been instructed by precept and example that this was indeed a day of gladness and rejoicing, you will find it a difficult matter to pass over this period without giving it some attention. It can be made to serve a very good purpose… The desire for amusement, instead of being quenched and arbitrarily ruled down, should be controlled and directed by painstaking effort upon the part of the parents. Their desire to make gifts may be turned into pure and holy channels and made to result in good to our fellow men by supplying the treasury in the great, grand work for which Christ came into our world. Self-denial and self-sacrifice marked His course of action. Let it mark ours who profess to love Jesus because in Him is centered our hope of eternal life,” (AH pg 478 & RH Dec.9, 1884).

Let us take these days, especially holidays such as Christmas and Easter, and teach our children that these events in the life of Jesus (birth & death) are for our salvation, and we should share this with others.

In the U.S. we celebrate Independence Day, July 4, with parades and fireworks, and our harvest festival is called Thanksgiving because the pilgrims were thankful to have made it here that first year. What important days are recognized in your country? What are some holidays, Christmas and others, that you celebrate, and how do you celebrate them?

I invite you to share ways that you are teaching your children to give to others.

Weeds

“But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold,” Matthew13:8.

We live in the southwest desert, so gardening can be a challenge with not-so-good, hard-to-water soil. Our dirt is like concrete and can be hard to get a shovel in. So, we have put in raised beds in wood frames. This not only helps with the dirt and water issues, but it also helps with weeds.

Keeping them weeded isn’t hard, but sometimes the water leaks out and the ground around them gets watered as well. The weeds then grow outside of the boxes. Usually we don’t pay a lot of attention to these weeds because they’re not “in the garden.” But, sometimes they get big, and we can have a hard time getting to the garden; plus, plants that grow big or vine need space outside of the garden to grow. Then we have to weed out the garden. Sometimes these weeds have better roots because we don’t get them when they’re small.

Weeding has often been compared to getting rid of bad habits or sins in our lives, and this is true. But, as I was pulling those hard, out-of-the-garden weeds, I got to thinking. Usually we focus on what’s in the garden and not what’s around it. What about in our hearts? Do we have a garden just for Jesus? What about the area around that garden? Do we weed it as well?

Change of Plans

I was not really a good candidate for being a homeschooling mom. When I went to school, my grades were mostly D’s and C’s, with some F’s. I failed the fourth grade. I didn’t like school. I went because there was no choice. School to me was boring and I didn’t like it. I wasn’t at the very bottom, but next to it. In high school I thought about dropping out, but was a least smart enough to realize that having a high school diploma would be a good thing to have, so I stayed. As an adult, my mother decided that I possibly had dyslexia, and later I was diagnosed with it. When I graduated from high school (I was smart enough to finish), I didn’t want to go to college or have anything more to with school. So, how did I become a homeschooler and help others get started?

Free as lambs…

When my oldest daughter was about five, someone shared with me the book, Better Late Than Early, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. Also, we knew that Ellen White talked about children being “free as lambs” until they are older (seven or eight). We were already thinking of later schooling. Starting when she was about four, Heather (the oldest) would ask how to write her name and other things, and I showed her. It took only a few minutes of my time, and she’d write it. So, we decided when she was six to keep her home and homeschool. We only thought about a year at a time. We listened to some tapes (old days), by a lady whose name I don’t remember, that made the point of “teaching all the subjects with the Bible.”

When we started, there were not all the curriculum options that there are today. For that I am very thankful. I knew about Abeka and Rod and Staff, and that was about it. We did Math-It for math, then Saxon, which was just coming out. For phonics and reading we used the Bible. Since English has so many exceptions to rules, this is not hard to do. Sometimes we’d talk about the rules, then all the exceptions, and just move on. After they could read (and teaching reading from the Bible, after they read it, they could pick any book — including Ellen White and encyclopedias — and read it), to help them get understanding, I used the more advanced Moore-McGuffey readers that had questions at the end of the stories.

I guess it was more of a relaxed or unschooling way. As the kids got older, we did use more textbooks, as much because they wanted it as that it gave us guidance for what they needed to know.

I have two that had/have dyslexia, and we did vision therapy. They had a hard time learning to read, but the therapy helped tremendously.

A couple of verses helped me stay focused:  “Teach them diligently to your children when you rise up, sit down, walk in the way,” Deuteronomy 6:7. And, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be their peace,” Isaiah 54:13.

 

 

Picnic Time!

“He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He sendeth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?” Psalm 147:16,17.

When days are cold and seem to be in a rut, it’s a good time for a picnic. If it’s still really cold and dark where you live, just put a sheet or blanket on the floor (in front of a fireplace is nice) and have your picnic in the house. Consider not doing school book work, or less of it, and making it a “snow day.” Have your favorite picnic foods and play some games. Games like musical chairs and charades are active to get the kids moving. You could also do some table games or read stories. Maybe start some early garden seeds. You can grow things like leaf lettuce in a container that’s at least six inches deep, that is put near a window that gets a lot of light.

For the menu, we like baked beans (recipe to follow), either potato or pasta salad, a veggie tray, and maybe some cookies or other treat. Sometimes we do sandwiches and a salad. Mostly keep it pretty simple, so that you have more time to have fun together.

Baked Beans: two cups or one 1 pound bag dried navy or small white beans; soak over night, rinse, then cook the beans (may be done in a slow cooker/crock pot)

Then add: 1/2 cup maple syrup (can use molasses)

1/2-1 onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 teaspoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (optional)

up to 1 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Smoke (optional)

1 teaspoon salt (especially if not using Bragg’s or Smoke flavor)

When beans are almost done, add rest of ingredients and cook until beans and onions are soft. Make sure you have enough water in the beans not to burn them.

Variation: add up to 1 cup of tomatoes.

Enjoy!