Thursday, October 20, 2011

How will you celebrate the holiday season?

It is that time of year again.  Soon there will be a Thanksgiving buffet at my table followed by a Christmas tree decorated by presents.  So, to prepare for the upcoming celebrations, I spent the day shopping ... buying birthday presents for my husband, buying items to decorate my home for Thanksgiving,  and browsing online for Christmas presents for my girls and family. Sound productive?  I am not so sure now.

You see, I just read a blog that talked of a little boy in another country sleeping on a dirt floor with his 3 siblings  and eating rotted vegetables as his dinner.  Yet, despite what I consider horrible circumstances, he had joy because someone cared enough to share money with his family through missions.  Now, I am ashamed of the time I wasted today focusing on giving to those who already have so much when I could have spent my time finding ways to support others in need.  How is it that I can collect food for families in need yet shop for $200 presents all in the same day?  Am I clueless?  Am I uncaring?  Am I sheltered?

The Bible talks of being a good steward.  I have always thought of that in terms of giving my tithe at church, but I am not sure how often I have taken the time to see that it applies to how I spend ALL of the money God has given me (in my Sunday morning tithe and in my spending every day).

Tonight, I am not shopping for shiny Christmas presents that will look beautiful in wrapping paper and a bow. I am spending time writing down ways I can help others in need this holiday season.  The people in my daily life are blessed beyond measure.  There is nothing they truly need other than my love and friendship.  So this year, I want to share quality time and conversations with them instead of wasting my time running from store to store for the fictitious perfect gift.

I want to spend my money helping others who are truly in need.  I want to give to the people Jesus would have served here on earth.  I want to spend my money and my time reaching out to those in need.  I may send a cow to Guatemala (Heifer International) , bake for a local mother battling cancer, offer to wrap presents for my elderly neighbor, or offer a listening ear and caring heart to a friend going through a troubling time.

This year, the best gift I can give my children is to teach them that there are others in need, that we can make a difference, and we can share Jesus love with others through our actions.  I want to show my children what Thanksgiving and CHRISTmas are really about.  I will be thankful for all that I have been given, and I will share my resources, love, friendship, time and the joy of Christ with those in need.  Won't those memories last far longer than the memories of any present wrapped under a tree?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Fall is my favorite time of year.  God really created an art piece when He created Fall.  The colors of the leaves, apples, mums, and pumpkins; the smell of baked apples, pumpkin pie, and apple cider; the feeling of snuggling under a blanket, crisp cool mornings, and leaves crushing beneath my feet.

Fall is a new season that brings new sights and sounds, but it is also a season of familiarity that I have come to love. Yet this year, I want fall to be a little different.  You see, this year, I want to spend time enjoying God's masterpiece, but I want to spend more time falling in love with the Creator.

I want to spend this Fall sitting outside looking at the leaves He created, snuggled in a blanket reading my Bible.  He took the time to create the beauty I see around me, the season I have come to love so much.  He created all that I am, all that I have, and all that I love.  I want to give Him the credit, and I want to remember that I enjoy Fall... only because He first created it.

I will enjoy this Fall, His creation, His masterpiece, but I pray I will fall into a deeper relationship with God even more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Serving food...

I love to bake.  I love to eat it almost as much, but truly the enjoyment comes from the process rather than the consumption.  If I have a hobby, it is baking.  It is my stress reliever.  I enjoy the excitement that comes from experimenting with textures, flavors, and colors.  I am calmed by the simple acts of measuring, stirring, and watching my creation transform as it bakes.  However, the height of my enjoyment comes from watching someone else enjoy what I have baked.

I love baking (and cooking) for my family.  Serving them a nutritious meal that I have taken the time to edit for their individual tastes is nurturing to my soul and maternal instincts.  I enjoy to find out the favorite treat of a friend and make it for them on a special day.  It lets them know that you were thinking of them all day long, and you couldn't wait to see them.  I appreciate the opportunity to bake for a person or family during difficult times.  I hope they realize that even though I get caught up in my daily life, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

I may benefit from the process of baking, but I pray that the love of Christ is shown through my baking.  When my family's body is strengthened, a friend's day is brightened, and a broken spirit is touched from a dish...I pray that they are physically and spiritually nourished.  You see, I don't just bake, I am "serving" though food.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Growing up, I was never a big fan of chocolate.  I could eat a piece or two if I had it, but I rarely craved it.  Somehow my taste buds changed as my wrinkles arrived and my responsibilities in life increased. I enjoy the smooth texture of almost anything chocolate as it simply melts in your mouth.   But things really took a turn for the worse about 4 years ago.  You see, I discovered the divine combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  My favorites are Reese's peanut butter eggs, cups, and pieces.  However, I have been known to melt my own chocolate chips and mix the sinfully smooth stuff with a spoonful of peanut butter during a late night craving.  The worst part is that I pass my obsession along to others.  I have converted my "chocolate only" husband into a peanut butter brownie fanatic!  I deliver Reese's cups to friends as a pick me up.  I even triple wrap treats so I can spoil my children't teachers with peanut butter balls.

Today, while surfing some of the various baking websites, I discovered a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with  peanut butter icing and topped with a peanut butter cup (Butter Babies Bakery), Nutter Butter chocolate stuffed chocolate chip cookies (Serious eats), and then I found chocolate cake balls smothered in peanut butter and dipped in chocolate (Say It So Sweetly).    As a person who thoroughly enjoys baking, I am torn.  Do I indulge in making the new recipes realizing that I will most definitely consume large quantities or do I resist the temptation and miss out on a simple joy?  I am at a cross roads.  I either need an intervention or I need an IV, but I can't decide which one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I believe God has a sense of humor...

I am not joking (no pun intended).  I genuinely think God has a sense of humor.  I think that is why we physically, mentally, and spiritually benefit form it.  However, I think that sometimes He uses it to teach us lessons as well.  You see, I have learned in my life that if I don't like something or have a strong fear of it...God will use it to teach me a lesson.

Example 1: I never wanted twins.  I wasn't the type of woman who says, "I hope I have twins."  I never dreamed I'd want to mother two babies at one time.  Yet, God led me down a very long path to become the mother of twins.  It was a life changing and spiritually altering journey that taught me to rely on God and His wisdom far more than my simple dreams and wishes.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  He has blessed me beyond measure to love them, watch them grow, and guide them.  I can't imagine having had them one at a time, and I know that many of my motherly blessings came directly from having twins.  He prepared it just that way.  

Example 2:  I have a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development, but I NEVER wanted to work with kids. I couldn't imagine dealing with children, especially other people's children for that much time.  I simply used the degree to lead me towards a Master's program in the field I wanted to work, Counseling. However, after only 5 years of being at my dream job, I left to become a  full-time stay-at-home mom.  I loved it, and I knew that is where God called me.  I spent hours utilizing my unwanted degree to prepare our daily "experiential" lessons and make my job as mother so much more rewarding.  Then 4 years later, I began teaching a children's program at our church.  I would spend all week thinking about, preparing for, and praying over our next lesson.  In fact, I loved teaching that class more than I ever enjoyed my dream job.  It is so amazing to see that I chose that "meaningless" degree, and He made it so meaningful to my life.

Example 3:  I am a Type A personality.  I do not like change!  I prefer consistency and order ALL THE TIME.  However, God teaches me some of my best lessons through unexpected and unwanted chaos and change.   My initial instinct to change is to grimace and get upset.  I do like that anything...especially THIS thing...has to change.  God has proven that He knows best.  After a little time and prayer, I see how His ways warned me this was coming.  He had been preparing me for it whether I had realized it at the time or not.  I am blessed that I have been directly able to see how He has made things better, in small and big ways, every time.

You see, He is my creator.  He has been with me for almost all of my life.  He knows who I am better than I do.  So, if he wanted to teach me a lesson though opportunities I enjoy, He could do that.  Yet, time and again He uses the things I dread the most to teach me the most valuable and life altering lessons.  So, I say again..I believe God has a sense of humor.   And I am so glad that I get to benefit physically, mentally, and spiritually from His humor each time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Being a Child of God - Living Life in Reverse:

Young Child:  When I was a young child, there was no one more important in my life than my parents.  I relied on them for everything.  I wanted to spend all of my time with them, talking to them about my day and hearing stories from them.  Their arms and lap were my safety zone, and I knew with them around I was safe enough to explore, learn and try anything my brave little mind could imagine.  However, I also knew that if I got bumps and bruises along the way, their comforting touch was enough to make all the pain go way. 

Older Child:  Through the years, I had finally learned pain and disappointment.  Lessons not easily forgotten and I no longer felt that my parents love and embrace were enough to make me feel better.  I had been hurt by trying new things, and I did not expect my parents to always protect me, so I stopped trying anything I could image.  I settled for what seemed safe.  My parents were still important to me, and I still relied on them.  However, I did not crave time with them each day.  I appreciated that they were willing to sacrifice to meet my needs in life, like food, clean clothing, and shelter, but I needed to have some separation to enjoy the world around me.

Teenager:  It was all about me!  My only focus was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to act.  Independence was all I craved.  I wanted to make all the decisions about my life with no guidance from my parents.   They thought they knew best, and they offered me some advice, but I did not listen.  They did not really know me or my life, and I was afraid they would not like the real me.  So, I stopped talking to them, and I no longer took their advice for my life… no matter how much they reached out to me.  I rarely interacted with them, other than on the weekends or holidays, and that was the way I liked it.  I needed to live life the way I wanted to live, and I wanted to fit in with everyone around me.  Despite the fact my parents were always offering to be there for me, I just really did not need them.  I was smart, and I was ready to live life in my own way.
Adult:   Finally on my own, separated from my parents, I felt free to live life any way I chose.  My parents were separate from the life I was living, and they had very little input in my daily life.  Sure, they created me, but I simply did not need them anymore.  It was my life, and I was finally living it my way. 
If only I could have stopped the aging process.  If only I could have gone back to the simple way of life…relying on my parents for everything….AND I COULD.  As I left the home of my earthly parents,  my focus turned towards my Heavenly Father.
When we become a child of God, we learn to live our life in reverse.  We stop living like an adult, totally separated from our Father.  We slowly learn to live like a teenager, aware that God is there waiting to help us, even if we really don’t want to listen.  As we begin to feel His calling more in our life, we learn to appreciate the sacrifices He had made for us, to meet our need for cleansing Salvation, nourishment, and love.   When we finally grow in our faith and totally give ourselves over to God like a young child, we learn to rely on Him for everything.  We crave time with Him, love to listen to His voice above all else in the world, and we know that with Him, we can be brave enough to try anything we imagine.  Finally, the simple life again… love, guidance, protection, and nourishment at all times and in all ways…from our Heavenly Father.  His arms are the safest place in this world until one day He will carry us to our heavenly to our creator.