Disciplining with Humility + A Mother's Identity

Parenting is humbling (and sometimes humiliating). It can also breed the worst kind of pride. When our kids obey in public, and bonus points, if someone sees their excellent behaviour and compliments me, I'm not going to lie - it's ecstasy.

One day, the stars aligned and our three kids all came to me exactly when I asked them to, not touching a single object on the insanely crowded urban Canadian Tire store. Have you ever been in one of their city locations? It's like they're afraid to let customers see even an inch of bare wall or shelf. And they didn't touch, they listened, and they came (!!!)

A Hasidic Jewish man watched it all, and please note Hasidic men never talk to non-Hasidic women, and also tend to raise numerous, extremely obedient children... and he gave me his nod of approval and said, under his breath, "Good obedience". Coming from him of all people, it felt like the praise from the praiseworthy. I was shocked and kind of felt like I was the greatest. A few days later my youngest had a tantrum in a small, crowded grocery store and I felt like the entire store knew I was just a fraud.

The ups and downs of parenting are so extreme, and if our identity is wrapped up in our kids - their successes, their failures - it will either crush us or make us unbearably prideful. Christians have a better identity, but sometimes we lose sight of it. The Bible says we are beloved by God, that our forgiveness was bought at the greatest price, and that there's nothing we can do to add to or subtract from God's love for us. Our kid's behaviour, their grades, their sleep patterns, their meal preferences, their abilities or deficiencies; none of them are our identity. I love this story from Jami Nato,

 "When my 9 year old lies and I catch him in it, I say, “Hey. I saw that. I lie too to get my way. But it’s going to hurt you. Go upstairs and take some time to ask that God might change your heart.” Sure, sometimes I yell first. But you get the point. A common phrase in this house is, “Go upstairs and ask God to change your heart.” Not “GO to your room! I can’t believe you did that! (because I did that yesterday?)” What kind of a tool is that?"

We have a higher identity than that of mother, and it should lead us to humility.
When we discipline, when we correct, when we encourage and when we praise, the gospel frees us to do it humbly. I don't do this perfectly, but I'm thankful that it's true. 

***All photos by Rachel Cheng.


rose + pistachio bundt cake!

I made this before we left for Europe and I had to share. I had been looking for a bundt pan for a while, and I prefer to buy most things secondhand, which meant the search was a prolonged treasure hunt until I found mine. Once procured, I went on the hunt for a bundt cake recipe to try out, but I found a lot of the recipes online are chocolate, which isn't my favourite cake.

I tweaked this recipe and added rose water and pistachios, and used up a lot of greek yogurt and sour cream in the process, which is always a bonus when you're getting ready to leave town for a few weeks!

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • zest of 1lemon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pistachio extract 
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Pistachios + rosewater to taste
  1. Preheat an oven to 350F. Prepare bundt pan.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Rub the zest into sugar, add pistachio extract.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sour cream and the coconut oil until smooth. Add the lemon sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk (a bit of each, each time)
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean; about 45 minutes.
  8. Cool the bundt for a full 10 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack. It's VERY important to let the cake cool before trying to invert it, no matter how well you prepared your pan beforehand. When ready, invert the bundt pan onto the rack, tapping gently on the bottom until the cake releases. Cool completely before glazing.
  9. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and Greek yogurt. Add a splash of rose water, if you like fragrant cakes (you probably do, and don't know it yet!) 
  10. Top with crushed pistachios and serve at room temperature.



Did you find out your baby's gender by ultrasound, or on their birthday?

For all three of our pregnancies, we always found out the baby's gender at the 20-week ultrasound. I could never wait until the birth!

It was always an amazing surprise to find out the sex, even if it was at 20 weeks along, and not on the delivery table. For us, we found out at the ultrasound for several reasons. Firstly, my first trimesters were always brutal. I was sick all day, every day. It felt like the best reward ever to find out what we were having after such a rough few months. It also helped me organize and plan, my favourite pastimes (Monica Geller, present!), but mostly, it made Brad and I both feel more connected to the little life growing inside of me.

Knowing the gender made it all so much more real. After finding out the gender, we knew what we were calling baby, and started to imagine our future with him/her in less vague terms. When Brad found out we were having a girl he was a little nervous at first, for example. But after a few hours, he was picturing himself one day walking her down the aisle at her wedding. I, on the other hand, was terrified of having a boy. I needed those few months to get used to the idea after Oli's ultrasound. I was especially glad I found out early with him, because his labour was the most difficult (the epidural didn't work!), and I'm not sure how I would have taken the shock that he was a boy after all of it.

What about you? Do you find out early or wait until baby's birth day? It's about 50/50, I'm told, but I'd love to hear your reasoning either way! Also, digging out these photos was a crazy experience. It's hard to believe I'm done with those years of baby making, birthing, and raising. But these kid years are pretty wonderful, too :)


one pan dinners!

I love having people over for dinner and we get to do it quite a bit as a Pastor family, but it can still be a lot of work. Since our kids eat much earlier, usually cooking for company means cooking for four adults. To keep things simple, I always aim for a one pot or one pan dinner, but I still like it to be a little special. We do pizza often (see my recipe HERE), but recently we made this one pan salmon dinner and it was so good!

Preheat your oven to 375, wash and cut your veggies.

Choose veggies that will roast at a similar pace. I used asparagus and radishes because I only recently learned that they can be eaten roasted (I usually have them in salads and on veggie platters) so I was excited to try. Spoiler: it's my new favourite roasted vegetable!

On parchment paper, arrange veggies and a large piece of salmon. Cover salmon with pesto and drizzle veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake/roast for 30 minutes, or until ready. Yay!