Thursday, October 25, 2012

Luve Project Gone Wrong...

So, I think I got it all wrong.  At least, partly wrong.
I've been teaching the kids about loving each other using the "love chapter" in 1 Corinthians 13.  Each week we were focusing on a different know, "love is kind" so don't hit your brother with a stick.
Then it hit me (not the stick).
We love God because He.Loved.Us.First. 
The first thing I need to teach my children, even before teaching them how to love others, is how God loves them.
1 Corinthians is about what true love looks and acts like.  If God is love, then 1 Corinthians also describes how He loves us.
So, I've altered my plan a little...
Each week we'll still focus on a characteristic of love but it will be about that love, toward us, from God.
I don't want my children to think that this relationship with Jesus is all about "getting it right" and "playing by the rules." 
I want them to know that this relationship with Jesus is first, about how much He loves them. 
Enough to die for them.
If they can grasp how wide, how deep, how high, how long the love of God is...loving others will be a natural outcome.
It will be a good refresher course for me too.  That's an understatement. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Luve Project: Love is Slooooooow to Anger.

I don't mind folding laundry.  I pop up and make my bed before my eyes are barely open.  I love cooking.  I actually (occasionally) look forward to cleaning the toilets.  I like making our windows shine.  I even kind of enjoy cleaning out our van.  But, I am sloooooooooooooooooooooow to empty that dishwasher.  I will cram as many dishes as possible into the dishwasher to put off having to empty it again.  Thankfully, my husband doesn't mind.  Thankfully, he does it almost every day.  Thankfully, or we might be eating straight off the table.
Not sure what it is about putting away the dishes.  I just dread it and thus, am slow to finish it.
I wish I was as slow at getting angry as I am with emptying the dishwasher.
This was me as I was putting my boys to bed tonight: "Josiah! Put that book away so we can pray!"  Pray and ask for forgiveness for me by that time.  :)  1 Corinthians says that love is "not irritable" or "not easily angered" or, for my son's comprehension, "slow to anger".  This should be a good one...for the boys and for me.

(Luve Project Update: Love is Not Selfish)
I have to say, my boys did great with their verse this last week.  It really seemed to stick with them.  I heard lots of "look mom, I'm not being 'fish'" (we did have to work on the actual word, "selfish"...).  I was very proud of them and it gave me encouragement to keep on going...:)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Luve Project: It's Not About Me? Huh?

Yesterday was all about me ( a few hours anyway).  I picked up the groceries accompanied only by a hot tea.  I came home and got an uninterrupted bath.  Husband made lunch and then sent me off to the spa. Here are my toes (I cropped out my grey and white track pants...I know, classy).

It was most definitely a nice day.  A treat from a rockin' husband.
As an adult, I fully understand that for me, my marriage, my family, and my friendships to last...every day can't be all about me (though I could get used to the spa...).
However, children are only just learning that the whole world does not revolve around them.
And who's to blame them?
Originally, their every whim was satisfied.

I cry, I get a new diaper.
I cry, I get fed.
I cry, I get held (sweet things).
As a toddler...

Food is cut (or in this case...handed to them in a bowl so they could slather it in every conceivable nook and cranny).
Shoes are tied.
Seat belt strapped.
Piggy backs when tired of walking.

By the time they're preschool aged, we can hardly be surprised that they don't always get the world doesn't revolve around them.
This week my boys are learning that "Love is Not Selfish."  I wrote our memory verse and drew some stick figures to illustrate a little guy not sharing.  I was pretty impressed with how quickly they caught on.  They tried it out on their baby brother right away.
"Mama, he can have my water bottle."
"How about my Jake compass?"
"He can have some of my apple Mom."
I caught live sharing action when I was trying a little 'pinterest' project.  Notice the water bottle ...:)

So, there we have it.  This week we'll see how unselfish we can be.  I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Luve Project: Love is not Rude.

I let my boys run in church (gasp!).

Church runnin' clothes...;)

See, daddy is on staff so there are lots of times that we get there a little early-
before most people have finished breakfast.
We walk into those front doors and the wide space of the foyer beckons them every time.
They take off, just running.  Boys like that...just running.
Eventually though, people start trickling in and before long the empty space has become an obstacle course of legs, dangling purses, babies and even a sweet dog.
This 'obstacle course' could prove to be even more fun than an empty foyer if mama didn't have eyes in the back her head.
We've been trying to teach them these last few weeks that loving others means being considerate and not rude.
Matthew Henry puts it this way;
"It (love) does nothing out of place or time; but behaves with courtesy and good will towards all men - especially older ladies in the church foyer."
O.k. I added that last part.
I've been explaining to them that slowing down as the foyer fills up is not just about obeying mommy but about loving others.
It's about being courteous to little toddlers who are not as steady on their feet.
It's about having good will towards our friends with older knees and backs.
It's about doing the right thing at the right time.
There will be a right time for running...
when everyone leaves for Swiss Chalet and daddy is locking up.  :)
I think they're starting to get it.
I'll let you know how the week goes.
Love is not rude.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Does Not Boast

I make mistakes.  Yes I do.  I heard one coming out of my mouth recently.  It had already escaped before I got a grip on it. 
"Josiah, Samuel finished all of HIS chicken!" 
One of those things I said I would never do. 
You know, when I knew all about parenting, before I had kids.
 I believe that this kind of comparing,even with little things like eating all your chicken or carrots, can motivate boasting.  It very well could have something to do with the big table boasts these days...
"I finished all of MY noodles." "I didn't spill MY milk."
(insert slapping of my forehead here)
I don't think that comparing my boys with each other is a healthy motivator. 
Galatians 6 says it pretty plain;
"4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load."

Teaching my boys to test their own actions and not compare themselves to someone else can help them to be proud of their work in and of itself, without boasting over someone else.
It can teach them that they are responsible to 'carry their own load' whether someone else does or not.
This week, I was reminded again to carefully guard how I talk to my children.
How are my words affecting them?
Am I helping or hindering their grasp of true love?

This is a healthy, non-boasting "I did it!" pose for the camera...:)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't Forget...

Four year-olds can be known to exaggerate.  For example, a new thing our oldest son declares when we don't give in to a 'demand' is; "You ruined my whole day!"  I think maybe he forgot about
the warm, cozy car bed he woke up in,
the cartoons we let him watch in the morning,
the breakfast we made him (and let him eat while watching cartoons),
the wrestling with daddy before work, at lunch time and after work,
the trillions of toys at his disposal,
the lunch we made him,
the milk (with strawberry sauce added..yikes..)
the giggling with mama,
the answering of his gazillion questions,
the sandbox in our backyard,
the walk to the park...
I think he forgot about it all when we said he couldn't have another chocolate cookie.

And as four year-oldish as that sounds...I do the same thing.

I forget about
a mother holding me close,
being carried on my dad's shoulders,
young friends,
Sunday school songs,
still water reflecting the sunset,
soft breezes full of pine,
sun warmed bricks at a college,
cornfields and meadows,
a first love letter from the man who would be my husband,
blinking newborn eyes...

Sometimes I forget about all God's dealings in my life just because I have one bad day.

The Israelites did the same thing.  Psalm 106 reminds us of all God had done to set the Israelites free from slavery then it goes on to say this;

"13 They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel:

14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."

Matthew Henry write this in his commentary on Psalm 106; "Those who forget the works of God forget God himself, who makes himself known by His works."

The more I forget about what He has done, the further I seem to be from Him. 
I want to allow thankfulness to bring me even closer to His heart. 
Don't forget what He's done friends. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Luve Project: Love Does Not Boast (even at the dinner table)

The past couple years, dinner time at our house has looked a little like this...

Most of these pictures features Sam Bam.  He likes to 'experience' his food.

It's a 100% fruit popsicle...don't judge people. ;)

"Look mom! My hat!"

This was before our oldest son figured out he didn't like to be messy.

Yep. A quarter of a watermelon right there.

And...there was this time.

Every breakfast pretty much ends up like this.
So, there you have it.  Dinner with three kids can always be a treat.  :)
 Lately I've found that dinner has been sounding a little like this;
"Mom, I didn't spill MY milk."
"Dad, I took MY plate to the dishwasher."
"Mama, I ate all of MY spinach."
"Dad, MY toys are all off the table."
"Mama, I'M being quiet."
Naturally, these good deeds were all the opposite of what brother was doing.
 A little boasting going on around the dinner table. 
This evening we taught the boys, "Love does not boast."  We explained to them that bragging about themselves in order to point out others weaknesses and your own exceeding greatness is not what love is about. 
Hopefully our table boasting will change this week.
I have a feeling our table messes may not change all that much. ;)
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Envy

So, my kids didn't seem to have many incidents of 'envy' this week to work on.  That's probably a good thing. :)  We did work on memorizing; "Love does not envy" (or "love is not enbee" for all you 3 year-olds out there...).  I also found a great verse that may be key in helping our boys guard against resentful envy.  Romans 12:15 says;

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (NKJV)." 

If I can help my children to be happy rather than resentful when others are blessed with good things, then I think they'll be taking big steps towards not being an envious person.  We can make rejoicing with others a habit that will, hopefully (prayerfully), shape their character for the better.  It won't always be an easy lesson to learn.  It won't be easy

when someone else is picked as captain,

or gets the better mark

 or wins the gold.

However, learning to be happy for the other is always a healthier response.
Practically, as a parent, I will attempt to memorize this little nugget of a verse and whisper it in my boy's ears when the opportunity arises.
For example, last Saturday we went to our little cousin's 1st birthday party.  He had a Jake and the Neverland Pirates birthday cake.  That's a big deal.  My boys were wide eyed and completely in love with that cake.

That would have been a great opportunity to quietly whisper..."Wow!  Isn't it great that Channing got that terrific cake?!  He will be so excited to see that!"  Creating opportunities to celebrate with others may be an actual safe guard against building up feelings of resentment when others seem to receive more.  So thankful for the wisdom that God's words so freely provides.  In this parenting business, I need as much as I can get!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Luve Project: Envy and High Tops

I think I remember the first time I fell prey to a fad.  It was elementary school.  A couple girls in my class had new high tops.  Not just any high tops.  They had little chains on them.  Naturally, everyone wanted a pair.  I would stare at them longingly and try to picture them on my own scrawny feet.  Not that I had horrible shoes...I just didn't have high tops..with chains.  
See?  I needed the chains...

Apart from the chains, my memories about the shoe issue are a little vague.  I have a feeling though that little fingers of envy may have crept in to say; "she thinks she's so cool...with her chains." 
This week I'm teaching my boys about envy.  I wrote our little verse poster; "Love does not envy.." and then proceeded to expound 'envy' at the dinner a 4 year old - and a 3 year old.  Interesting. 
I reminded Josiah of when he was mad when Samuel won a birthday prize and he didn't.  It didn't go too well.  Josiah decided he still wasn't over the episode and Samuel remembered that he had left said prize at the party...oops.
We'll try again tomorrow. :) 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Luve Project Update: Kindness

If my three boys were allowed to pick whatever they wanted to drink, at any time, here are the choices they would make;
Big Brother: Milk (with chocolate sauce)
Medium Brother: Apple Juice
Baby Brother: Milk - the strong stuff - 3% all the way baby! 
My nephew Micah's beverage of choice: water.
I remember him being so proud about a dentist check-up because the dentist was impressed with how much water he drank.  More water = less cavities. 
Thankfully, his parents have tons of clean, bacteria-free water to give to Micah.
Not all parents have this privilege. 

This has been our kindness week and part of learning about kind is learning to be kind to the poor.  We let the boys watch this video...

My oldest son's first words were; "Yucky! Look at that yucky water!".  We explained that the scum filled hole was the only water the young girl had to drink. 
"But she can't drink that mom, it's too dirty!" 
We know.  But that's all she has. 
The boys watched intently as 'Fiona' poured her filthy water into a small bucket with a filter.  They were pretty excited to see clean water come out the other end.  We told them that a part of kindness was helping that little girl and others like her get clean water to drink.  We gave them 10 nickels each and they got to choose some to put in our 'water' bank. 

(p.s. we need a new battery in this bank)

They were pretty excited to be shoving those nickels into the bank.  When we get to $55 (naturally mama and daddy are helping too as nickels would take a long time to accumulate), we'll buy a water filter for a family so that they can have clean water for life.  Kindness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Do Not Fret...

I have been known to fret and worry occasionally...maybe more than occasionally.  One of my employers called me; "worst-case scenario Christie."  I've been reading a new book called; "A Better Way to Think" by H. Norman Wright.  I think this should be prerequisite reading for...everyone! 

The basis of the book is to replace your negative thoughts with God's truth and promises.  Anyway, I came across something in the book this morning that was so exciting to me, I couldn't help but share.
The book has a space with questions to answer at the end of each chapter.  One of the questions was; "Look up Psalm 37:1-9.  What are four alternatives to fretting that the psalmist suggests?  What do these mean to you?"

Let me show you the scripture...the answers are all. right. there!

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret —it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. 

So, when I start to have worried thoughts I have a few options;
1) I can find scriptures about trusting God, memorize them and meditate on them.
2) I can bring to mind all the things about God that delight me...sunsets, His provision, my family, etc.  Another version says to "feed on His faithfulness" (I love that). 
3) I can commit whatever I may be worrying about to Him.  Here it is God, now what do I do with it? 
4) I can be still and wait for God to show up.  Not try to make things happen myself (remember Sarah and all those servant girls she made miserable? Check out Genesis 16).
 5) Refrain from anger.  Anger at God, anger at anyone!  Anger pretty well only hurts yourself.  Not that it's as easy as pie to let it go.  But, at least, start trying.  Anger in itself is not wrong, it's just a sign that there's an issue to be dealt with.  It's the holding on to it and acting it out that destroys your sense of peace and the peace of those around you. 

What's so amazing is that God really does have all the answers for us in His Word.  We just have to search for them.  Books like this help me with my search.  Hope you have been helped to have a frettless day... :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Luve Project: Kindness

Before I had a grocery cart full of babies to carry around a store -  I enjoyed perusing the greeting card aisle.  I leisurely read the cute and quirky little sayings, opened up the music cards (..."give me a kiss to build a dream on...") and laughed quietly at the funny ones.  One of my favorite lines on a thank-you card was "You may say it's no big deal...but kindness is always a big deal."  Isn't that great? 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says;
" Love is patient, love is kind."

According to, the word "kind" in 1 Corinthians means:

"to show one's self mild, to be kind, use kindness"

Oh boy...can boys be mild?  :)  This should be fun...but I am sure I will be afforded many opportunities to remind my boys (and myself) to be mild. 

In reading up a little on the word "kind" and "kindness" in the Bible, I saw some common occurrences.  Kindness comes up a lot when God talks about how we should treat the poor.

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done."
Proverbs 19:17

Also, the word describes God's dealings with us over and over again.

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
Jeremiah 31:3

And, in general, how we should be treating everyone around us.

My goals this week to teach the boys that "love is kind" will be to;
1.  Remind them to be 'mild' when addressing their parents, brothers and friends.
2.  Set up a project to help the poor.
3.  Remind them of God's kindnesses to us.
4.  Provide opportunities for them to do acts of  kindness.  

I pray you see at least one instance of God's kindness towards you this week. 

(Here's biggest brother being 'kind' to little brother when they were just babies...he was helping him hide in the cupboard.)

I'll let you know how our little project goes at the end of the week.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Luve Project Update: Patience

Yeesh!  I think this project may be more about me than the kids.  I am discovering a couple important things about patience.
1.   This mathematical equation;

# of hours of sleep=level of patience. 

Yes, the number of hours I slept was in direct correlation with the level of patience I had (can I get an 'amen'?).

An important thing to remember is that it is not my kid's, husband's, the traffic guy's, cashier's, or God's fault that I was up too late..



or reading

I can't use lack of sleep as a viable excuse for impatience.  I am a big girl and I need to make the hard decision to get a healthy dose of sleep so that I can more effectively model patience for my children.
This also goes for the kidlets.  I know schedule's are a little off-kilter for the summer but it is my responsibility to allow my children opportunity to get enough sleep so that they are more easily able to be patient. 

2.  Patience is hard work!  It is only going to come by sacrifice. 
Sacrificing my urge to YELL at the kids when they're not listening.
Sacrificing time by not rushing them through a story just so I can fold one more load of clothes.
Sacrificing some leisure (leisure?  what's that) ;) to hear another superhero story.
My children will learn patience when I am able to show them patience.

So that's my update.  Let me know if you have any stories about learning patience.  I'll leave you with a little nugget from Proverbs...

"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city (16:32)".

Disclaimer:  I'm not saying that I should never watch t.v., surf the Internet or read a book.  I was talking about when it keeps me up past a decent hour.  Neither am I saying that I can never have free time or tell my children to wait patiently while I have a little break.  Everything in balance friends. :) 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Luve Project: Patience

I was one of the weirdos in school who loved literature.  I loved to read.  Anything.  So, all the short-stories, poems, and haiku's assigned to us in class were a treat. It also helped that we had a fantastic teacher (who by the way, would come into our classroom every Christmas wearing a sombrero and singing, "The Hat I Got for Christmas Was Too Big").   I remember him showing us Robert Burns' famous poem, Red, Red Rose.  The first line in this piece was "O my luve's like a red, red rose."  I just couldn't get past ye olde english "luve".  I think I may be an editor at heart and I couldn't fully enjoy the poem for the spelling of 'love' (told you...weirdo...). 
I was thinking about that poem today when I read 1 Corinthians 13. 
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
I was thinking that if my boys could be loved and love like this...they would be pretty set for life.  Love doesn't hit their brother.  Love trusts that when Mama says wear your's a good thing. Love does not cheat on a math test.  Love is not proud when big brother gets in trouble.  Love doesn't erupt in anger when something doesn't go his way.  If we can teach them how  to love, God's greatest commandment, then I think we will be successful parents. 
So, I've decided to try a little project.  I'm going to break up the "luve chapter" into the different traits of love and focus on one a week with our boys.  We'll write out the verse and memorize that little part.  Then, my husband and I have a frame of reference when our little guys provide an "opportunity" for teaching about love. 
Our first trait is patience.  Samuel helped me 'decorate' the little love poster this morning.  We'll stick that on the fridge and see how it goes. 

I'm hoping to be able to update you each Friday about how our week went.  Maybe you would like to try don't need kids either...try it yourself!  Let me know how it turns out. :)

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

Peace Anyone?

You may have the best husband ever (I do),
You may have a chubby cheeked baby and fun little boys (I do),
You may have sweet, wise, godly friends (I do),
You may have parents that love you (I do),
You may have in-laws that love you (I hope I do ;),
You may have enough food (I'm making a pot roast today...),
You may have clean water (I do),
You may have new shoes (that would be nice), still may not have peace.  

Psalm 62 says,
"Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved."
"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved."

Sometimes, when we sorely need peace and rest, we grasp frantically for something to help ease the struggle. 
The right man, the right vacation, the right kids, the right new outfit, the right friend.
These things are most assuredly blessings, but they cannot bring us true peace.  
Only God could see the things that would disrupt our peace and put them on Jesus' shoulders.
Only Jesus could take them from us and put them on Himself. 
True peace will come when we can finally hand over our burdens to Jesus, who longs to take them from us.

I pray you find peace today friends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What to Make Monday...Bread!

I LOVE bread.
 I have a beautiful cousin who has a scar on her chin because of my love of bread. 
It was a fine day in a quiet inlet.
4 little girls, 3 sisters and a cousin, were playing like all little girls play on fine days.
The little cousin with bouncing brown curls gets a sudden longing for her auntie's delicious, warm, soft and light homemade bread.
Auntie, being the good auntie that she is, graciously rewards her little niece with her heart's desire.
What cousin and auntie were too busy to see was... oldest sister falling off the deck...
True story.

So, for years, I have stayed away from making my own bread.  I think I felt that there was some kind of bread making intuition that I didn't have.  Also, the thought of making bread even close to the same caliber of Aunt Wanda was intimidating.  I had watched my mom make bread too.  It looked pretty tricky to me.  "How much flour mom?"  "Oh...just enough to make it look like this..."  I needed cold, hard facts.  You know?  Actual measurements.

Well, I finally got up the courage and decided to give it a go.  I looked to a favorite website - and found this recipe of cold hard facts.  Samuel (my sous chef 3 year-old) and I followed it exactly and IT WORKED!  I was ecstatic.  My husband was delighted.  And we chowed down those 4 loaves in just a couple days (just cause' it was the first time...) ;)

Here's the recipe folks.  Let me know if you try it. 

2 packages of active dry yeast
(or 4 1/2 tsp of yeast)
4 1/2 cups warm water
6 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted, cooled
12 cups flour

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in water.
Add sugar, salt and butter, stir until dissolved.
Add half the flour, beat until smooth with a spoon.
And remaining flour (enough to make soft dough).
Turn on to floured surface.
Knead 8-10 minutes (it will seem like a long time...but it's worth it.)
Place in greased bowl.
Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch dough down and allow to rise for another 30 min.
Divide into 4 parts.
Put in greased loaf pans and allow to rise until doubled (about 30 min).
Put in 350 degree preheated oven for 30 min or until nicely browned.

"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."  Matthew 4:4

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Diaper Bag? Check!

Yesterday, while preparing for a little road trip, our two oldest boys were running around the house with little "lists" (scribbles on a couple of old note pads) and pens in hand, making sure we had everything covered; it sounded a little like this:
"Shoes? (a scurry to find the Backyardigan shoes) Check!"
"Sweaters? Check!"
"Baby Andrew? (a pat on the head to little brother sitting in the infant seat) Check!"
"Diaper Bag? Check!"
This continued all the way out the door and to the car...
"Keys? Check!"
"Grass? (they got a little distracted by the garden) Check!"

Maybe they get it from me.  I make my own list every morning and the rest of my day is pretty well spent trying to draw lines through items on my list.

tidy kitchen
read Bible
lunch prep
dinner prep
spend quality time with boys
clean bathroom upstairs
clean bathroom downstairs
check email
clean boys closet
etc., etc.,

I think sometimes I put Jesus on the list. 
Pray? Check!
Acknowledge His presence? Check!

And then I go on about my day, satisfied that I completed the task...

But listen to what John 15:5 says;

"I am the vine, you are the branches.
If a man remains in Me and I in him,
He will bear much fruit.
Apart from me, you can do nothing."

I'm trying to learn how to remain in Jesus. 
Am I remaining in Him when I answer the constant "Mooooom? Maaaama?"
Am I remaining in Him when I fold yet one more basket of laundry?
Am I remaining in Him when I clean up another potty accident?
Am I remaining in Him when I splatter chocolate batter all over my kitchen?

Brother Lawrence, a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris in the 1600's said;

“The time of business...does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess GOD in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” 

Remaining in Jesus is for every part of my life.  I can't just "check" Him off and then leave Him there.  If I expect to bear any eternal fruit, I must remain in Him...make a practice of acknowledging His presence in all moments.

I pray you find Him close today...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


No, this is not a post about one of my boys dripping in sticky molasses...I pray fervently that doesn't happen.  :)
This is about sticky molasses though - making a mess in my cupboard.
I was packing things into my cupboards a few days ago after picking up the groceries.  I tried to move the molasses and it wouldn't budge.  It was stuck in it's own drippings.  Whoops.
I love the stuff.  When I was pregnant with my last baby, I think I had bread with  butter and the sugary goodness every night before I went to bed - along with cheese and pickles.
Anyway, back to filling my cupboards...I was complaining to myself about needing to clean these cupboards and find a better storage solution for said "lassy" when I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my full, albeit sticky, cupboards.  I thought of moms in other countries, even our own country, who may be looking at almost bare cupboards.
Nothing to make for dinner.
Nothing to feed her children.

Forgive us Lord for forgetting.

We've been meaning to sponsor another child for months now.
We decided when we had our first baby that we would sponsor a little one from another country for every baby we have.  We have been delighted to have Rutendo, a little girl from Zimbabwe and Wexlex, a little guy from Guatemala be a part of our lives.  
Our youngest son is 8 months old now and we haven't gotten around yet to sponsoring another.
 Life happens.

I fold and fold and fold our boys clothes and I forget that there's a little boy somewhere with no clothes to fold.
I put cups of milk and plates of bread and bowls of fruit on our table and forget that there's a mother with nothing to put in bowls for her babies.

I fill up my boys water-guns with clean cold water a zillion times a day and forget that there are some boys who have only muddy, bacteria-infested water to drink.

Forgive me Lord for forgetting.

1 Timothy 6: 17-19 says,
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

I wouldn't call myself rich, maybe you wouldn't call yourself rich either. 
However, the food in my cupboards,
clothes in my laundry basket,
car in my garage,
toys on my living room floor,
glowing lamp in the corner and
clean water coming out of my faucet -
most definitely makes me rich to the young gaunt mom in the mud hut
               or the teenager trying to wash car windows in the city
or the feeble elderly gentleman in a house with no heat
               or the little baby lying on a cold floor in the orphanage
or a neighbor who's having a hard time making ends meet...

Help us not to forget Lord
            and help us to take action.

Thank you Molasses for reminding me to do good, be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share and to take hold of the life that is truly life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Read some great promises today...

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one...
whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law
day and night.
That person is like
a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Thinking about God's words through the day brings me...
vitality and life

Great promises.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

Today, me and the kidlets took a beautiful, long (mostly because I was lost for twenty minutes) drive in the country. The farmer's fields are still pretty brown. The trees are still pretty bare. And, the lake is still pretty covered in ice. However, spring is most definitely in the air. The signs are starting to peek out. My boys no longer leave the house in 13 layers. I no longer don a scarf. My husband no longer wears a coat - oh wait - he never wears a coat (yeah, ask him about the time he was pushing his little car out of a ditch in the middle of a blizzard - WITH A T-SHIRT ON!).
As I was enjoying the scenery and the warm sun streaming into the mini-van, along with the static-y classical music playing on the radio - I just had the overwhelming sense of gratitude that
God is in charge.
Me and my little ol' self may think I control schedules and feeding times and cleaning times and t.v. time but thank goodness, it's not me who controls the seasons. It's not me who makes the earth spin on a perfect axis. It is not me who holds life in hands. It is God.
All powerful.
All faithful.
All loving.
Thank you God for your seasons.
Thank you that we can count on Spring coming because You're in charge.
What a relief!

"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea.... By his breath the skies become fair.... And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! How then can we understand the thunder of his power?" (Job 26:7-9, 11-14)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Got Milk?

This is our nutrition chart. You know how some days your preschoolers seem to unload the refrigerator into their mouth and then the other days they eat one Shreddie? Then, there's the days where I have time to leisurely enjoy toast with peanut butter and the days when I shove a half eaten banana in my mouth on the way out the door. So, in an effort to keep our family on a good nutrition track - I made this chart.
Every morning I get up and erase all the little markings from the day before and we start over again.
That's the thing, with food, you've got to start new again every day.
The apple from yesterday can't act as a fruit serving for today.

And, do you know what I think of almost every morning as I erase yesterday's efforts?

With food, spiritual food, it's good to start new again every day.
The Bible reading from yesteryear can't act as my serving for today.

Psalm 119 shows us the importance we should put on renewing ourselves in God's Word everyday.

"9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word."

Lord, help me to keep track of my spiritual food even more closely than my meals...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Princesses, Purim and Purpose

My little Samuel looked at my wedding picture a few days ago and exclaimed; "Mommy! Are you a princess?!" Over six years ago I married Prince Charming (I did!) and I guess the tiara and big dress made my 3 year old believe I was a princess (I didn't tell him any different). Like any girly girl, I LOVE princess stories. The tiara, the dresses, the castle, the prince, the food...:) I think my favorite stories are the rag to riches Cinderella-type.
Esther was a rags to riches princess.
Orphaned and raised by her cousin, Mordecai, she was spotted by some court officials who were looking for a pretty young thing to be the king's new wife. Esther didn't have much choice in the matter and she became the new first lady.
It wasn't long before Mordecai and her uncovered a conspiracy to do away with Esther's own people, the Jews. To stop this, Esther would have to approach the king, uninvited - an action that could cost her life.
Mordecai spurred Esther to action with these inspiring words;

"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NIV)

Today is Purim. Purim is the anniversary of the deliverance of Esther's people from the hands of the conspirator Haman. The new queen had taken her life into her hands and acted on the belief that she had a purpose. Her actions saved a nation.

God has given us all a purpose. Today, on Purim, I encourage you to ask Him what His purpose is for you.
It may not be to save a whole nation - today, but it may be to lead your child to Him.
It may not be to speak in front of millions, but it may be to speak to your co worker.
It may not be to uncover a conspiracy, but it may be to tell the truth.
Ask Him.
He's given you a purpose.
He doesn't leave you aimless.
Be the princess (or prince) you were meant to be!

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."
Philippians 2:13 NIV

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I am a reading nut. Since I've been able to read, I've read everything. The backs of cereal boxes, posters on waiting room walls, shampoo bottles ("gee, tes cheveux sentent bon!"), stickers on my new bike and wait...oh yes...books.
Some of my favorite books have been stories about missionaries who braved thick rain forests and crocodiles and outhouses.

There was one particular series I really enjoyed called "The Jungle Doctor". I was inspired by the doctor's manner in crazy circumstances. Everything from army ants to witch doctors. His wisdom, steadiness and love for the people of Africa was testimony to God's work in his life.

I was reading the words of Paul, the missionary, this morning. In Philippians 1:27 he writes;

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

WHATEVER happens? Heroes like missionaries encounter some pretty big WHATEVER's.
You know...
tape worms (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh),
bears - oh my!

and that's just my shallow list...we all know they deal with so many WHATEVER's.

It would be easy to think that Philippians 1:27 deals with just the big stuff but as I was reading that verse this morning, I thought of some things in the day ahead of me...
Cleaning the kitchen,
Laundry. Laundry. Laundry,
Letting the dog out. And in. (x50)
Feeding the baby,
Preparing lunch,
Putting kids down to nap,
Preparing dinner,
Filling up the water guns,
Potty training (sigh),
Cleaning the toilets,
Picking up 3056 super heroes off the floor,
and if there's time...
Brushing my teeth.

"Whatever happens..." means WHATEVER.
Laundry is WHATEVER.
Dried out muffins are WHATEVER.
A baby waking up early from nap time...WHATEVER.

So, in the midst of these WHATEVER's, am I walking in a manner that presents the power of God's presence in my life?
When I interact with my children?
My husband?
The store clerk?
The telemarketer? (help me God.)

Knowing that I can represent His love, the essence of Him sending His Son, in WHATEVER happens in my day...makes my day, and the little things, so meaningful.

Praying that you are able to find joy in walking for Him in WHATEVER comes your way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goo Goo Ga Ga Beans...

So, if you know me well, you know I love to cook. I gain so much pleasure from setting a full plate in front of my family and close friends. I feel immense satisfaction whenever my husband or my little guys are licking their fingers like they're lollies. However, loving to cook does not necessarily make you an executive chef immediately. I believe my love of cooking has helped me get better because of all my practice, BUT, I still make duds. Like a couple weeks ago...
We were feeding on the last of the groceries and trying to make them go as far as possible before we had to trudge out in the cold to get more. I pulled out some pork chops and decided to go with a home made barbecue sauce. I had rice. I just needed a veggie.
Open cupboard...
Onions - love them...just not an excellent side dish.
Potatoes - AND rice? Nah.
Open fridge...
One dried up carrot - not quite enough - also not sure I could re hydrate it...
Open freezer...
Edamame beans - huh? oh yeah, dear hubby thought they were frozen peas when he went grocery shopping (at least he went).
4 frozen corn niblets - not enough.
Edamame beans it is.
So, I went searching for an Edamame bean recipe. Couldn't find much as a side dish option as they are mostly used in salads (for a reason I soon found out...).
Fried them up, added a little garlic and salt and that onion.
Proudly served up my well rounded dinner.
Then we took a bite. Pork chops - SAAAAAAAlty! Rice - covered in that salty pork sauce. Edamame beans - hard, garlicky and salty. Even my husband couldn't pretend to like it - and he's eaten goat. And fish heads. By the end of my meal of SALT with a side of pork, I was desperate for water. I chugged down my glass of water as fast as possible, taking big gulps with no thought to the dribbles running down my chin - I just wanted more. So, get this - in the middle of the dribbles I thought about Jesus. I thought about how He called Himself the "water of life." I wondered if I had ever been this desperate for Him. Nothing else mattering except knowing Him closer, depending on Him to quench the thirst for

"Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." John 4:10
That's it. "If you knew the gift of God and who it is..." How often I forget. How often I drift away from Jesus and forget who He is. Forget how He has provided in the past. Forget His power, provision, presence, peace. I forget to look to Him to quench my thirst. I was glad for my little salty experience that night. For two reasons;
It urged me to draw near to the Living Water. The Lover of my soul. The One who can satisfy all my thirst.
And it was the night my husband dubbed Edamame beans as Goo Goo Ga Ga Beans whenever he couldn't pronounce it.

Look to the Living Water friends.

Monday, January 2, 2012


My uncle creates amazing art. When I was around 12 years old, he and his lovely wife asked me to come spend the summer with them. One of the greatest impressions of that trip was watching him paint. From a blank white piece of canvas he started with small pencil strokes and then on to blues and greys. In the beginning, there was no way I would have been able to tell you what those strokes would become. But he knew. It was already painstakingly planned out in his thoughts. Over the summer, the blues and greys and pops of color revealed a beautiful city skyline. Awesome.
God creates too. Our lives are His blank canvas. Sometimes we don't always understand the strokes. We can't see what it's going to become. Be He knows. It's already painstakingly planned out in His thoughts. Maybe you feel like you've messed up your canvas. It's crisscrossed with mistakes and wrong turns. Splattered with good intentions gone wrong. But look at this;

"1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." Genesis 1

God, the Master Painter, is able to bring light and beauty from your empty or dark canvas. He is "hovering" over your life, waiting to create a masterpiece. He's just waiting for your invite. In this new year, let Him get started. See what He can do.
Blessings Friends