Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Do You Call?

I don't know if you are like me, but when something big happens in my life I immediately have this overwhelming urge to tell someone or say, the entire Facebook community! I usually go down the line of family members and friends who are on my mental call list. When this something is a negative life experience, the pressure to "go tell it on the mountain" is even greater. It is almost as though I expect a release or peace from the pressure of anger, fear, or sadness, just to share it with others. Usually, there is a slight or temporary release by telling others, but there is no real resolve. No real peace, until...I take it to my Lord.

I found a Bible lesson that is a great reminder of who we need to take it to and trust to resolve it for us. In 2 Kings 4, there is the story of Elisha and The Shunammite Woman. Elisha was coming through her town quite often, so she asked her husband if they could make a room with a bed for this "holy man of God." They made him one and in return Elisha wanted to do something for her. His servant Gehazi said that she had no son and her husband was old (this meant she had no one to provide for her if she became a widow.) So Elisha told her she would have a son and she asked "just don't get my hopes up." A year later, she had a son just like he had said.

When the son had grown up some, he was in the fields with his father and screamed that his head hurt. The father sent him home to be with his mother. She held him in her lap until noon and then he died. She carried him up to Elisha's bed, shut the door so no one would know, and went to her husband. She asked her husband for a servant and a donkey, so she could go see the man of God. He asked why she would go to him at such a strange time of year and she said, "It is alright." (This woman only had one thing on her mind, getting to the man of God who gave her a promise of a son which was fulfilled. She didn't mourn for her son, she didn't go sob with her husband, she just wanted to get to her direct link to God, Elisha.)

She told her servant to go fast and don't slow down for her unless she asked him to. When Elisha saw her in the distance, he told his servant Gehazi to run to her and ask if everything was ok. When Gehazi got to her, he asked and her response was again, "Everything is all right." When she got to Elisha, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi tried to pull her away, but Elisha said to leave her there. God had not told Elisha what was wrong with her, but he knew she was in bitter distress.

Once Elisha found out the woman's son had died, he gave his staff to Gehazi and told him to go quickly to the boy and lay the staff on his face. The woman said as surely as the Lord lives, she would not leave Elisha, so he got up and they went to her house. (Again, she was relying solely on her source to God and didn't want to rely on anything less.) Gehazi was not successful in raising the boy, so he ran back to meet them. Once Elisha got to her house, he went into the room and raised the boy. He called for the woman and told her to take her son. She fell at Elisha's feet once again and bowed, then took her son.

Through Elisha, the Shunammite Woman served the Lord, she was blessed by the Lord, she shared her pain only with the Lord, she trusted the Lord in His promises, and she praised the Lord for His provision. She recognized the Lord as her main source for everything and she never looked away from that. So the next time I have something big happen in life, I hope I remember this story and don't waste any time. I hope I just take it straight to Him!

Friday, August 31, 2012

How to Give When you Barely Have Anything Left

I was catching up on my read the Bible through and came to the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath located in 1 Kings 17. There had been drought. A widow was starving and barely keeping herself and her son alive. She only had a handful of flour and a little oil, yet God was asking her to feed Elijah. She was to give what little she had left. Elijah told the widow, "Don't be afraid." The Lord said that her flour would not be used up nor her oil run dry, until the rain returned.
We live in a time where we literally give or spend all that we have, almost to the point where we have nothing left or that we are eager to protect what we have left. Our time, money, energy, and physical goods, we run them down until they are spent. So what happens when we feel God asking us to give of those things? Do we do it with faith and trust that He will provide? Or do we hoard it for our own good? Just as the Lord provided for the widow who was faithful, He will provide for us who are faithful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pirouettes in Life

Have you ever had those times when you feel like everything is pulling at you and you are doing your best to stay above water so to speak? I am definitely in one of those times. Everything from homeschool, my parenting skills, relationships, my new business of selling children's books, this hurricane, is all pulling at me and ahhhhhh each in different directions! I am so incredibly off balance.

So what do I do? Psalm 46:10  says, "Be still and know that I am God." Be still. These two simple words are so calming and bring me back to the foundation. Be still. Do nothing. Let go. Just stop and know that He is in control. He is my steady. Psalm 105 says, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always."Just like a ballerina must find and keep a focal point, I need to stay focused on Him as I do pirouettes in the dance called life.

Be still. Know. Look.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Health(ier) Snacks!

I know it has been quite some time since I last posted, but summer has come to our house and schedules are full with exciting new things! Bowling, swimming  lessons, Bible school, and library summer programs are just a few of the things keeping us busy. Also, my mom was recently diagnosed with inoperable, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (your prayers are most definitely welcome,) so we have already traveled to visit grandparents this summer. 

Her diagnosis has turned my focus back to what we eat in this house. If you have never read Don Colbert's Eat This and Live book, it is an eye opener! Our meals have been pretty healthy, primarily fresh meats and vegetables. Fresh fruit is always a great choice, but our boxed snacks needed some improving. So, we are taking baby steps to make better choices. I have found these two recipes and wanted to share.   

Gold Medal's 100% White Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie
So maybe the butter, sugars, and chocolate chips are not the healthiest ingredients, BUT using whole wheat does make this treat a healthier option for the store bought cookies. Your kids will not notice the difference in flour and will enjoy this fiber filled cookie. As my oldest daughter says, "they are deeelicious!"

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups Gold Medal® white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips

Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Cheese Crackers
This is my attempt to replace packaged Goldfish with fewer and fresher ingredients. I started out using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but made a mistake and then changed it up slightly. My oldest just asked for the "real" Goldfish that mommy made instead of the boxed Goldfish, so I would say they were a success. As you can see from my picture, I did not attempt a fish shape, but cut them into small squares and rectangles. You can probably use white whole wheat in place of the all-purpose to make these 100% whole wheat snacks.

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4+- cup of milk

Mix first six ingredients in a mixing bowl and add enough milk to form a stiff dough. Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch. Cut in desired shape. Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until they brown around the edges.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Racing for the Prize

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24

Today, my daughter ran her very first race. As I ran alongside of her, I could tell she didn't know it was a competition. She was running, simply because she just loves to run. She had no regard for winning, losing, or placement, but I did.

She has the physical ability and passion to run, so I knew she was capable of doing great and even winning. As we ran, there were times when I encouraged her to keep going and times when I was patient while we slowed down. There were also times when I couldn't be with her and I directed her to keep running without me. It wasn't until I pointed out the finish line that she began to run with all of her heart and might. She had finally realized it was a race, a competition with a prize at the end!

I have been reflecting on this race all day and how symbolic it is. I realized the importance for us as parents to encourage our children to race towards Christ. We need to point out the prize at the end that they have yet to see. The best way to do this, is to run that race ourselves right beside them. Along the way, we need to encourage them to see and fulfill who God made them to be. We need to be patient with them while they are growing. There may even come a time when they will race without us, but we need to teach them to keep their eye on the prize. So, that leaves one question...are you ready? On your mark, get set, GO!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

21 Days

It all started with one request from my daughter, "Mama, maybe one day we can get a daddy rooster, so we can have baby chicks." She even prayed that day God would give her some. Little did we all know, two days later a rooster would fall into our laps at the strangest time and place and my daughter's dream of baby chicks become a reality. Not only was it a rooster, but one that was within the same breed of our hen. As simple as it may seem, we thanked God for our new rooster and looked forward to what we would all gain from this experience.

The next step was to decide whether to let the eggs incubate naturally with our hen or in an incubator. We decided it would be fun for the kids to actually watch them hatch, so we needed an incubator. They were very reasonable to purchase or there were plenty of homemade plans on the Internet, but someone actually blessed us with one for free. Once we had our rooster and our incubator, 21 days was all that stood between us and baby chicks!

We didn't purchase an automatic turner, but turned the eggs ourselves three times a day. We enjoyed candling them throughout the process. (You can purchase equipment to candle eggs, but I used an empty toilet paper roll with a bright flashlight.) We could see a heartbeat as early as four days. We could see the blood vessels and the chick moving at 14 days. We began hearing faint chirping around 20 days, and that made the excitement grow. Finally on the 21st day, we saw what is called "pipping." It is the first hole the chick makes before hatching. A few hours later, after patiently waiting and watching, we had our first chick! Later in the day, I had the privilege of watching all three of my children stare in amazement as our second chick hatched its way out and into our lives.

One may ask, so what did you learn from this experience? Well, I now realize how fragile and articulate the creation of chickens is. One wrong move of temperature or humidity in the incubator, the presence of bacteria, or failure to turn the eggs could have been fatal to the growth process. The fact that He created the hen with instincts to turn their eggs and to care for them over the 21 day process, is just extraordinary to me. Once the hatching began, it was amazing how the chick worked to break the egg, then rested, taking in nourishment from the yolk with each pause. Then once they hatched completely out, the final nourishment sustained them for the next 24 hours.

Through this experience, I was reminded that God sees our heart and our desires. Sure this was a four year old making a simple request one day, but we didn't go looking for a rooster and we didn't go buy an incubator. We didn't make these eggs form into chickens that hatched. God did! See, I had the same dream of hatching chicks, but I thought it was something we couldn't do until we moved to the country. I didn't ask God to provide us a way to do it, but my daughter with her child like faith did. It makes me think of Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! I truly believe He did this for her. The day they hatched, I heard her praying and thanking Him for our chicks. She finished by asking Him to watch over them. He gets the glory from this and we, well we get to enjoy two sweet, new chicks!

If you would like to watch the video of our very first chick hatching, please click here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Living versus Dead

I recently discovered the writings of Dr. Don Colbert and became a huge fan of his book, Eat This and Live. It has drastically changed my perception of food and will have lasting impact on our family. In his book, he discusses living foods versus dead foods. Living foods obviously nourish our body while dead foods tend to bring harm to our body. I had the thought this week, why not apply this to our words and actions towards others? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21,"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." So, this week our family has focused on our words and actions and whether they bring life or death to those around us.

This has been a very simple method to teach our children the importance of how they speak and act towards others. The oldest two are only seventeen months apart, so there has been ample opportunity to study this over the week. When one child says something hurtful to the other, we discuss whether or not that statement was living or dead. Once they determine it was a dead statement, we discuss how they can rephrase it to communicate in a loving manner. I have seen great fruit from this during the week. I have listened as my children encourage one another and show love through their actions. They have even begun correcting one another saying, "try to use your living words."

It doesn't stop there though. We as adults can practice this in our relationships with our spouse, children, family and friends. We set the example for our children, so it actually starts with us. I encourage you, as a family, to become aware of your words and actions and the fruit they are bearing. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24