Sharing the Glory of Easter with the Neighborhood Children

I have a dear friend who has held a neighborhood Easter egg hunt in her yard for years. She was the first person I called when the idea struck my mind that we should do that this year.

My friend is entering the zone of elderly now, but her life is still truly a testimony of God’s grace. She spent a good hour with me on the phone, telling me how she went about hosting the egg hunt every year. She has shared the gospel with hundreds of children as they have passed through her yard searching for plastic filled eggs. Some years over a hundred-showed up!

My first Easter egg hunt is very much a trial version. I hope to build up to the extravagant event my friend prepared, but we are not there yet. I am curious how it will go this year. And what things I will need to alter to make it better next year.

My friend impressed upon me the value of praying in advance. She spent time praying for the people who would come, conversations, relationships, and things like the weather.

Then she would trust the Lord that the right people would be there…parents and children. She did not wonder if she would have enough eggs or stress about who might come or not be able to come. She simply rested in God’s sovereignty in the whole matter.

Her preparations began for the coming year, the day after Easter. She snatched up eggs, toys, decorations and games on sale.

She ordered bulk egg toys and shopped dollar stores for egg fillers.

But Easter eggs weren’t her only activity. She planned a craft table with things for children to do.

She prepared a short time to tell the story of Easter and share the gospel. She used the wordless book, Resurrection eggs, had young people from church come tell the story, or read a book.

As I listened, I realized, filling and hiding eggs was a very small part of my dear friend’s Easter egg hunt preparations. The bulk of her time was in prayer over the event and the people.

I was truly impacted by my dear friend’s testimony and humble heart as she described to me what she did. Her voice is quiet and gentle. I have met few people who are as much of an introvert as she is. Yet, her love for people and their broken souls moves her to reach beyond her comfort and into the lives of others!

Oh, that my heart may be so loving of others that I am daily moved out of love for them to share Christ!

A Few Thoughts for the Expectant Mommy

I will never forget the moment I looked at the positive pregnancy test for my first child. After my dis-belief caused me to take the second test, which of course also showed two lines, excitement was my strongest emotion. But there were twinges of fear and uncertainty as well.

A call to an OBG was top of my list the next day, and I found myself a bit disappointed that I had to wait 12 weeks before going in to hear my baby’s heartbeat! Yes, I chuckle at my complete lack of knowledge now, but, truly, I was rather ignorant.

But I will admit, that going to the store to register for a baby was far different from going to the store to register for a wedding. I had no clue what I needed…other than diapers of course.

I gleaned most of my information from family and friends who had already walked the pregnancy journey. I asked friends what they used and how they liked it. I soon realized, just like Christmas, weddings, and birthday’s, there is a large amount of commercialism, geared toward expectant mothers. From the “natural” perspective, diapers wipes, glass bottles, and baby wraps….to the “quick and easy” mother with disposable diapers, formula, and diaper genie.

There is also a baby fashion that will change from year to year. Colors that are popular for a nursery, and items such as pregnancy pillows, swaddlers, and wrap style baby carriers which could be out of sink with the next generation of mothers.

Even though I had little idea how to prepare, from day one of learning I was pregnant, a preparation for a little life began. Where to begin?

  1. Pray for the Little Soul. As many women, I did pray for future children…more that I would have them than for their body and soul. Once I realized the weight that a little life was actually growing inside me, I felt a weight. It is a weight I carry to this day…a sense of helplessness, accompanied by deep love for my children and hunger to see my children walk with God. The only treatment is to turn that weight into prayer. God created that little body and soul. He loves that little person far more than I do. And it is God, Who rules the rivers of the heart of man.
  2. Journal the Experience. Once she knew we were expecting, my mother-in-law sent a notebook that she had written about her experience with the pregnancy, and the birth of my husband. It was really fun to read through how she told the family, her awakening thoughts, and see little things like her weight rise with each doctor appointment. I decided I wanted to keep these moments I would soon forget. So, I used simple note-book paper as I began scribbling down my pregnancy experience and thoughts. A nice journal or baby book could be nicer ideas. Jim’s mother wrote in a journal fashion, I plan to give the notes to my children someday, so I decided to write in a letter format. It is a tradition I keep to this day. I wrote about it in more detail in the post: Letters to My Children.
  3. Take Ownership of Motherhood. This is something I wish I had felt more free to do as a first time mother, but it took me a couple months after my daughter was born for my ownership of who I was to her kicked in. I do believe there are many women who naturally feel confident in their newly existing mothership, and this is not a struggle. But for those who find themselves insecure, it is a great strength to remember that you are the one God chose to mother that little person and no one, not a doctor, not a family member, or any kind of expert must bear that weight. Every decision is yours to make based upon what you think is best for your child…right or wrong. That child belongs to God, and entrusted to you and must be seen in that way.
  4. Let wisdom be the guide; not fear. Within the first few weeks of discovering she is carrying a child, a young mother is bombarded with decisions. How to give birth, where to give birth, natural or epidural, vaccinations, tests, ultrasounds, which pediatrician….the list is truly endless. In our fear riddled world, my heart aches to see mother after mother basing her decisions for what is best for her child based on her fear. So often, a mother will read something or hear something and make a decision because she is afraid. I lean heavily into James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Again, going back to the first step in motherhood. Mommy’s must rest in wisdom and biblical truth for raising their children, not the latest post on Facebook.
  5. Rejoice! Oh how easy we become ungrateful for the most amazing gifts! Stretch marks, varicose veins, exhaustion, morning sickness, weight gain, emotional changes, sleep deprivation, and a rise in bodily temperate are all normal experiences for expectant mothers. Although I was very happy to be pregnant with our first child, I did struggle being grateful for the uncomfortable reminders of the person growing inside me. With each child, the preciousness deepened until with my last one, I could not wait for him to wake up and cry in the night so I could go feed him and snuggle a bit. I understand motherhood is a very sacrificial ministry, but each discomfort and sacrifice are only reminders of the joy and preciousness of bearing life and should not cause complaint. How many woman have longed for years to get morning sick and get a round fat belly! It is truly a gift.

Ten Simple Meals to Teach a Child to Cook

anise aroma art bazaar

When teaching a child to be able cook food without supervision, it can be a little tricky to decide where to begin. So much depends upon each child’s interest, motor skills, and maturity.

For us, it has been different with each child. I decided to begin building independence with my oldest when she nearing nine. It was partially out of necessity. I needed more help around the house and having someone who could make lunch on occasion has been invaluable.

As I have cooked, and taught cooking lessons, I have found it helpful to begin with foods that are multi-purpose and of course, simple. I also try to pick meals that can be cooked in various ways so my children can get used to different cooking methods.

  1. Scrambled eggs in a fry pan are my first go-to food to teach my children to cook. They can be served at any meal and require little effort. Besides, what child does not enjoy cracking open an egg?
  2. Grilled cheese (cooked on a gridle or in a frying pan) are not only simple, but a favorite of most of the children in our home.
  3. Salmon Patties are a simple dinner most children can cook. I mix a can of salmon with two eggs and a dash or two of “everything bagel” seasoning. Salmon patties can be fried on a gridle or fry pan.
  4. Taco Meat is incredibly simple if I have pre-mixed my own seasonings or use store-bought packets. All my child needs to do is cook up the meat in a frypan and add the seasonings. I can help with the sides.
  5. Chicken and Rice is a family favorite. I can teach my children to cook rice on the stove or instant pot and then we add cooked chicken and seasoned salt.
  6. Baked Potatoes are a simple side dish or meal that takes nothing but a good scrubbing, olive oil, and salt. This is a good introduction to using an oven for children.
  7. Hot dogs are a no brainer for anyone. They can be cooked on a gridle, fry-pan, or in the oven.
  8. French Toast is easily mastered by young chefs. It is basically eggs, milk, and bread and can be cooked on a gridle.
  9. Basic Chili is a great, and more complex dish to introduce to a child. It requires little but cooked meat, cans of beans, tomato sauce, and seasonings. A child can have fun experimenting with different beans and meats with time.
  10. Roast Chicken is far more simple than it sounds. Really, other than making sure the bird is cleaned out and salted, little has to be done but put it in a pan and in the oven for an hour. I do recommend a couple sturdy oven mitts to prevent any chance of burning if a child is independent enough to put the bird in a hot oven and take it out when done.

Motivating Children to Cook and Bake

Busy mother’s know how easy it is to do everything themselves and keep out the “help.” How many mother’s use their dinnertime prep to allow their children to sit in front of the television?

I think everyone should know how to cook. Cooking is a life skill that is essential to thriving. By learning to cook a healthy, balanced meal, a person can keep his or her body nourished. If one is prone to buy prepared food or restaurant food, cooking will save money as well. Many also find cooking to be a creative outlet and relieve the stresses of life.

Cooking is also an important for ministering tool. Food blesses people in a way little else can. When I was an undergrad taking a cooking an meal management class, a young man was in my class. He did not know a thing about cooking, but wanted to learn so he could help our his wife someday. I loved that sacrificial perspective. And think more people who find themselves uneasy in the kitchen, need to humble themselves and learn how to be more comfortable in the kitchen simply to enhance ministry opportunities.

I believe everyone is able to learn to cook. Cooking does not have to be of gourmet caliber. I am afraid the television has ruined our standards of what makes a fine meal. If one can learn to create a delicious plate of vegetables and meat, cooking has happened. In fact, simple meals are preferred by most of the population. People find such comfort it an unintimidating bowl of chicken and rice.

Baking is a little more complicated in my opinion because it involves a bit more chemistry than cooking, but baking is usually the preference of children’s kitchen activities. Children love to mix flours and powders. They love to sample the interesting ingredients. Children especially love to get messy, gooey, and sticky as they touch dough and powders.

So, as a busy mother, how am I inspiring my children to enjoy cooking and baking?

  1. Cultivate habits of keeping children close while working in the kitchen. Children need to know they have a place beside mother in the kitchen. They learn that as infants strapped to their mother’s chest while she works. Children learn to have a place in the kitchen while they hang on mother’s pant leg while she scurries to make supper. Children learn to have a place in the kitchen as they pull up a stool and stir ingredients into a bowl. The kitchen becomes connected to warmth, comfort, and home very quickly to a child who spends his or her time beside mother there, day after day.
  2. Allow time to include children in meal prep and baking. Kitchen work will move at a slower pace if children are involved. I confess it is not convenient to have children underfoot while I work in the kitchen, but the point in having children was not for convenience. If I allow a little extra time by starting dinner early or give myself grace to eat a little later, I can include the little dears into the cooking experience.
  3. Learn to cherish the messes made by little “helping” hands. If I embrace the blessing of flour on the floor, sticky fingers being licked, eggshells in the cookies, and splatters around the pot I find joy in my heart instead of frustration as I work alongside my little ones in the kitchen. It is all a matter of what I choose to see as beautiful in that moment.
  4. Let them enjoy have choices of what they bake and cook. All of my children have favorite foods. If I am making one of those particular things, I will often ask if they want to help me. For Thanksgiving, each child gets to make his or her favorite pie. For Christmas, I let the children choose a couple cookies to help me bake for our neighbors. As I am menu planning for the week or the month, I will often ask the children for meal ideas and they can help me cook the meals they choose.
  5. Be around to guide, but don’t micromanage. As my children get older, they are more and more independent in the kitchen. My older children can make lunch on days I have no time…scrambled eggs, noodles, sandwiches, and toast are a few easy lunch items they put together. I will never forget the blessing it was one morning a couple months ago to wake up to the smell of eggs toast, and hot coffee made independently, and unprompted by my three girls! Micromanaging my kitchen would make my children feel as though they have no place there. So, I am careful to say “yes” as often as possible to their kitchen endeavors. I wan them to feel that it is their kitchen too!
  6. Show cleanup is part of cooking. Cleanup is usually the least fun portion of cooking for both adults and children. I like to teach my children to clean as they go. It really helps not have a mountain of work after the food has been cooked. When they are very young, I help them out. I do not want the cleanup to discourage them from working in the kitchen. But as a child is more capable, I insist the cleanup be done by her. I so not want to cultivate habits of leaving messes for others, in the kitchen or anywhere else.
  7. Utilize, don’t stifle a child’s natural curiosity in the kitchen. Children have a natural interest in tastes, smells, and textures of what is found in the kitchen. I am not saying I want my children burying their hands in my container of flour, but I do my best to allow them to use their senses while they cook. To enjoy and learn, it is essential that they know the ingredients they are using, so yes, there is a lot of tasting, smelling, and touching going on as we cook!
  8. Create a kitchen environment for each child’s best experience. I enjoy listening to classical harp music while cooking, but I have a daughter who prefers stories, and a son who prefers toddler songs. I allow the child helping me to have his or her pick of listening material or conversation with mom while cooking or baking. I think it helps each child take ownership of the kitchen and have a sense of belonging while he or she works.
  9. Keep the cooking to one child at a time. I have mistakenly included too many children at once in my cooking work. Then I cannot remember if the baking powder was added in, or if both scoops of sugar were included… It messes things up a bit. Our kitchen is also a small one and there isn’t room for many people in it at once. We often take turns in our house, just to keep the food turning out alright. One child can help with vegetables for dinner and another prep meat for roasting. It can be divided up easily and in shifts. Oh the joy each child takes when “their” dish is enjoyed at dinner.
  10. Purpose to teach children to make age-appropriate dishes. When a child is at a certain maturity, he or she can be taught to use knives, turn on the stove, put cookies into the oven, and such. Only a mother will know when each of her children is ready to move on to the next step.

Gentle Mothering

blue jeans

Nat stood on the edge of the bridge as shouts of “chicken!” rung out by the boys in the water. Groundskeeper, Nick Riley also in the water, strongly encouraged Nat to jump, telling him “All you’s got to do is take a deep breath, plant your feet; fly.”

As shouts of “you can do it! And Come-On!” rose from the group in the water, encouraging Nat to get over his fear and jump, Jo Bear came across the bridge, noting the pressure being applied Nat.

“Nat, Nat, only jump if you want….you can try again another day.” Jo said.

After a moment of consideration, Nat pulled back from the edge of the bridge and back onto the safety behind the railing.

Bawls and negative comments filed the air from the boys splashing in the water below. As Nick expressed his frustration, Jo, quieted the taunting by saying,

“There is no need to pressure him, Nick, He will do it when he is ready.” (Little Men: Season 1 ep. 2, Brainstorm Media, 1999).

I completely resonate with Jo in her gentle methods of child training. By giving a child time to grow and learn, confidence in each area is peacefully obtained at a child’s own natural pace.

In our world, there is incredible pressure upon children to develop at a standardized pace. From the first time a child is measured and weighed at birth, the practice of the standardization of that child has begun.  

We see standardization in the types of food that everyone should eat, to the amounts of food. We see standardization of life-styles, vacations, birthday parties, clothing brands, vaccination timelines, and medical treatments. What is culturally normal often sets the precedence for what is right for each person.

As a culture, we do not even think it is okay to question the standards set by experts. According to Scripture, parents are given divine authority and a sacred position by God to raise their children. That sacred position was not given to any other family member, the state, or so called experts. A mother fails when she “does not think enough of her position; and has not sufficient confidence in her own authority.” (Charlotte Mason, Home Education p. 162)

Any mother would heartily agree that her child is anything but standard. A mother is the most important expert on her child.

She should freely choose to rely upon certain people to help guide her discover what is best for her child, and she should guiltlessly choose to press forward or pull back as she feels it is best for her child. Yet, she, often with reluctance, submits to boxing in the mental, social, and physical development of her child, despite her better judgment.

In my journey of child raising, I have been guilty of resting upon an expert or two despite my better judgement. In that, there is also no shame. Looking back I would choose differently now, but at the time, that is where I was, and God’s grace is completely capable of filing in all the gaps of my parenting failures.

How many tearful children have stood at the door of kindergarten grieving the change forced upon him or her before being ready? But parents and teachers pay no heed. The child survives and moves on, so the system must work.

How many parents rush to pediatricians and child psychologists because their child is not performing inside the box of behaviors and skills expected for his or her age? How many needless diagnosis are given to children who simply need time to mature in certain areas?

Mother after mother puts her trust in a medical system or an educational system before trusting her own instincts. Mother after mother fears her child will be “behind” if not pushed to physically and mentally meet a standardized norm.

Yes, I very much realize there are very valid needs to seek help for a child to excel within his or her own God given sphere of development. Many children do need support in various ways. But oh to embrace even such a child as absolutely normal in his or her God given capacity of growth and development is of extreme importance. No diagnosis should taint or set the precedence for how she believers her child will best thrive.

I have a sweet little girl who is on the autism spectrum. As a mother, it has taken me time to get beyond the diagnosis and see through my child. Having a diagnosis can be helpful to get needed support for a child to thrive, however, it should not be the glasses from which a mother sees her child. A diagnosis is merely a tool that she can utilize to give her child support in needed areas. My child is not Autistic. My child is, a complete person, and must be fully, and firstly perceived by me, in her perfect, God given image.

How many children are actually hindered by well meaning parents who cannot see their child past a diagnosis. As a result, there are children who are sheltered and hovered over, missing multiple opportunities for which they are beyond ready. And yet, other children are pushed to stressful limits to do things they will eventually be prepared to do if given enough time and support.

As I speak of gentle mothering, I am certainly not at all talking about lazy parenting, but HUMBLE and PURPOSEFUL methods of parenting that require mom and dad stepping back and giving a child space to grow at his or her own time.

A Note on Humbleness: Gentle parenting requires humble parenting. A mother who realizes her child’s purpose is not for the glory of the mother, but the glory of God. A mother with that biblical perspective does not seek to boast in her child’s accomplishments.

Children in our culture are put on stage from the moment mom or dad posts the newborn baby photo on Instagram. The internet is full of pictures, videos, and accomplishments of children posted for no deeper purpose than a parent’s pride. A humble mother will deeply consider the reason behind each posting of her child before ever putting it out there. Generally, she will find, a quick text to Grandma with the dear little snapshot is sufficient to bring the right person joy.

I have a friend who was so convicted of her pride of her children and family that she will not even send out a family photo Christmas card. Obviously, this is simply an area that must be dealt with on an individual basis, since every mother knows her own heart on the area.

Despite the motives of a parent, children want to make their parents proud. How sad for the child who’s parents take advantage of that innocent desire of pleasing Mom and Dad, and whose parents use their child as a mechanism of self-glorification.

A child who is easily accomplished will thrive on stage, but will never learn the virtue of a humble heart as his or her accomplishments are applauded by the world.

A child who lacks confidence and performs poorly will shrink back further from the limelight in fear of his or her mistakes.

Parents must be very careful not to allow their own prideful motivations to pressure their children into situations and skills.

A note on purposeful: A wise and discerning mother will know when her child is ready for the next step in his or her journey. She will know to provide adequate support for that next step and provided the needed support for her child.

Sometimes, like Jo Bear, a mother needs do set her child free from pressure to perform, but she must also know when it is time to stand back, be silent, and let her child jump. This is the picture of a mother who truly knows her child. She is present in her child’s life. She hears her child when he or she speaks. She observes her child’s behavior. She is dedicated to understanding her child’s feelings and intentions. A gentle mother works devotedly to become deeply aware of the characteristics of the little humans given by God to grow under her charge.

Before I conclude, I will note that gentle mothering is not at all a laziness in mothering, neither is it a child-centered method of parenting.

Such gentle mothering is hard, dedicated work takes enormous prayer, advice seeking, and a deep knowledge of one’s child.

The gentle mother does not let her children rule her home. Her children, obey and deeply respect her, despite her imperfections. Her children do not respect her because she has forced them by punishment and fear to do as she says. They honor her because she has proved herself to be a faithful, honest, consistent, and trustworthy person to whom respect is naturally given.

This grace-filled mother firmly grasps her God-given place as her child’s authority and instructor. The responsibility of motherhood weighs heavily upon her.

The key to this gentle mother’s rule, is how she perceives her children. She sees them as complete, sacred, beautiful souls who have been entrusted by God’s grace to her nurture and care, for a very brief season. It is with fear of God and respect of what has been given to her by Him, that this mother sees her children.

I strongly encourage the reading of an older post: Little Whos are People Too for those who desire to get a more thoughts concerning a child’s being. It is essential a mother sees her children as anything but inferiors, but as complete, human beings.

What troubles a child is no small thing, and should not be treated as trifle. The sweet conversations of children must be heard with all seriousness. The pains and sorrows of a child, though seemingly small to an adult, are not insignificant to that little one. An injury to a child is not only an outward pain, but for some children, a moment of insecurity, and a moment mother’s time and affection is greatly needed. A scribbled drawing or a build of blocks that a child wants mommy to see, may appear a waste of mother’s time, but to that child, it is important. Mommy needs to truly appreciates and takes a moment to observe the details of her child’s work. A child must be seen and treated as the whole image-bearing person he is.

A gentle mother is a grace-filled mother. She will see her little charge standing on the edge of the bridge, his little knees shaking as he is pressured to jump. He wants to jump, and someday he will jump.

But for today, that mother will know, how serious an issue this is to him on so many accounts. His trouble will be real to her.

She will set him free from any obligation to jump and quietly wait for the day he will jump, holding no doubts in her mind, that someday, he will overcome what holds him back and he will jump.

And she will be there, on that day, tears in her eyes, knowing what has been overcome in order for him to be able to jump.

If he did not wait, and he jumped out of desire to please others or desire to be included in the brave group of boys who had already jumped, his jump would be empty, and he would never be afforded the time to deal with his fears.

Power of Affection in the Home

happy affectionate family

I stopped her as she crossed my path in the hallway, gave her a big hug, and “mommy loves you.” She stated “I love you too Mommy.” And then she skipped off on her way.

I have seen children skipping many times in my life. But the significance of a skipping child has recently riddled my thoughts. A skipping child is a happy child. A skipping child is a loved child. A skipping child has peace within.

How often a tender word, a simple hug, has brought on skipping feet. As my children have grown, the skipping has become less and less common, but I know the inner warmth felt by a moment of being seen and shown love lingers, because it is the same feeling I understand when my husband stops me in my path for a moment of affection.

Although most of us adults have completely outgrown the inspiration to skip in expression of our feelings, the feelings do not slip us by. When given consistent and faithful affirmation of being loved and noticed in our busy day, it balances our step in a very good way.

All that said to point out the value of taking a pause to show a moments affection to those in our lives throughout each day.

Consistent affection builds stability of the long term love we know others have for us. It confirms to me that , “yes” I am loved. “Yes” I am seen. We adults need it. Children need it. And children need to see it in their parent’s relationship as well. Relationship security and trust is built brick by brick through our faithful, daily treatment of each other.

How often I have been told to seize the moment as my children’s childhood slips through my fingers. Seizing the moment is a classic and admirable phrase, but backing up a bit more, moments cannot be seized without purpose and planning. We purpose to maintain health by building healthy eating habits over a period of time. We purpose to have a great harvest by spending a little time every day in the garden, watering, pruning, and pulling weeds. We cannot seize anything without a purpose to do so. Habits and plans must be formed for us to accomplish any goal.

  1. Build habits of affection into your life. Do not pass a loved one in the hall, especially a spouse, and let him by without a kiss. Greet each child in the morning with a snuggle, hug, or kiss. Take a moment longer on a busy morning to snuggle with your spouse in bed. Take a nap with a child on occasion. Read books to children while holding them, not while they are beside or across from you. Always kiss your children goodnight. Plenty more tips could be added and catered to each family, but I will stop at that.
  2. Prioritize the giving of affection. Do not ever withhold affection. If a child asks for a hug or leans into me in the middle of my work. I always pause (unless it is dangerous that they cannot be near me), and give that child a moment of my time. I do not ever push a child away or ever tell them I cannot hold them. If I must keep the child at a distance from me for safety reasons, I quickly snatch them up as soon as the dangerous work is done. I have had a little one sit and wait a good ten minutes for a hug from mommy. That shows you how valuable affection is for the soul.
  3. Keep the channels of affection open. So often little children do naughty things that make mommy or daddy cross. It is crucial that after a just punishment has been served that the child be embraced, forgiven, told he or she is loved, and the relationship restored completely. I feel very strongly about quick punishment and quick reconciliation. God does not withhold himself from us once punishment and forgiveness are given. I feel it is very wrong for me as a parent to withhold an affectionate relationship with my child as well.
  4. Learn to accept affection. I am a busy person, sometimes it is difficult for me to  value the importance of receiving affection from others when it is given to me. I might have my arms full of folded laundry and on a mission to deposit the load in the closet when my husband stops me for a bit of a snuggle. I want to finish my work before fully accepting the moment, but have learned that it is not only very important to give my husband the moment, but also that it is important for my own heart as well. I need to take in the love being offered to me and treasure it, far more than I need to be putting laundry on the shelf.
  5. Make plans for the sharing of time with others. I am currently taking my oldest daughter out every Saturday for a Bible study and coffee. She loves this time with her mommy. My husband will often plan take one of the chidlren out alone to go shopping, get lunch, or watch a movie. Even when my husband and I will get a sitter and go out alone together, that moment cannot be seized if it isn’t planned. We put affection on our calendar. We set aside time for it. We make arrangements for special times with those we love.

I understand that everyone is not inclined to show affection and love in the same ways, but as we each know what shows love to someone in our God given circle, we should certainly figure out ways that would show another person how loved they are to us. The outpouring of affection would be sporadic at best if we relied upon our emotions or given time. If affection is to truly portray the depth of love we feel for someone, then it must b purposed, planned, and given room to exist on a consistent basis. Affection is truly a beautiful way that we can show our deep love for each other on a daily basis and we are wise to lean into it as a sweet tool of showing love to those in our home.

Letters to My Children

“This is my Sunday closet,” she said, showing him shelves filled with picture-books, paint-boxes, architectural blocks, little diaries, and materials for letter-writing. “I want my boys to love Sunday, to find it a peaceful, pleasant day, when they can rest from common study and play, yet enjoy quiet pleasures, and learn, in simple ways, lessons more important than any taught in school. Do you understand me?” she asked, watching Nat’s attentive face.

“You mean to be good?” he said, after hesitating a minute.

“Yes; to be good, and to love to be good. It is hard work sometimes, I know very well; but we all help one another, and so we get on. This is one of the ways in which I try to help my boys,” and she took down a thick book, which seemed half-full of writing, and opened at a page on which there was one word at the top.

“Why, that’s my name!” cried Nat, looking both surprised and interested.

“Yes; I have a page for each boy. I keep a little account of how he gets on through the week, and Sunday night I show him the record. If it is bad I am sorry and disappointed, if it is good I am glad and proud; but, whichever it is, the boys know I want to help them, and they try to do their best for love of me and Father Bhaer.”

“I should think they would,” said Nat, catching a glimpse of Tommy’s name opposite his own, and wondering what was written under it.

Mrs. Bhaer saw his eye on the words, and shook her head, saying, as she turned a leaf

“No, I don’t show my records to any but the one to whom each belongs. I call this my conscience book; and only you and I will ever know what is to be written on the page below your name. Whether you will be pleased or ashamed to read it next Sunday depends on yourself. I think it will be a good report; at any rate, I shall try to make things easy for you in this new place, and shall be quite contented if you keep our few rules, live happily with the boys, and learn something.”

“I’ll try ma’am;” and Nat’s thin face flushed up with the earnestness of his desire to make Mrs. Bhaer “glad and proud,” not “sorry and disappointed.” “It must be a great deal of trouble to write about so many,” he added, as she shut her book with an encouraging pat on the shoulder. (Little Men: Louisa May Alcott, Ch. 3)

What Mrs. Bhaer did for her boys in that chapter has been an inspiration to me since before my children’s birth. I love the attention to character development, but also the discipline of Mrs. Bhaer to write about each boy on a daily basis.

When Jim and I were expecting our first child, Jim’s mother gave us a small folder with notes of her thought’s, doctor visits, and birthing experience of Jim. It was incredible to read through and recount her experience as we brought another generation into the world.

I was inspired and have put my spin on this since before my children were born. I began to write them letter. I tried to be faithful monthly, but it has become more of a yearly endeavor at this point.

I wrote my children about details concerning their life before birth, the birthing experience, and their development as babies. I continued to write them letters as they have grown. I am hoping in time, it will be a wonderful experience for each child to read about long forgotten moments of his or her life. Perhaps those letters will also help my children deepen their understanding of my love for them and my prayers and desires to see each one of them grow up to walk with God.

Unlike Jo Bhaer, I am not writing to them about their weekly sins, but I am writing to each child to tell them about themselves. It is fun, but also a rather tedious upkeep. In time, I do feel it will be of value and a worthwhile endeavor.

So much can be forgotten, lost in the moment. Pictures are lovely, but they do not capture the personhood of someone like words. I am grateful for this early inspirational idea for my children and encourage other young mothers to also take the time to today write to letters for their children’s tomorrow.

Sweet Spoonfuls of Injustice

The little one is in bed napping, the older girls are busying themselves with activities for quiet time. I grabbed a small quart of chocoalte ice cream from the freezer…mommy gets a treat this afternoon!

One by one, each of my daughters caught me, asking for a spoon of ice cream. When told that they could not have any, I was met with the response, “But that is not fair!”

I could have answered by reminding my children of the cookie they had enjoyed after lunch. Or told them that the ice cream was too expensive to share. I could have laid out for them the events of my day…all the work I had done and how I was entitled to a few spoons of chocolate ice-cream. I have given such reasonable responses to my children in the past, but today, that is not what poured from my lips.

Today my heart felt it was time to plant a perspective in my children’s’ hearts, that the Lord had been working out in my own heart. “

“Honey, It is okay. It is okay that things are not fair. And you know what? you can be okay that mommy can have ice cream and you cannot.”

They left in thought. There was no planned come-back for that idea.

I want my children to know that feeling injustice is not only normal, but it is okay. I think my eldest daughter might have even pondered further as to why it might be okay for mommy to have a bit of ice cream and why it was okay that she did not get any ice-cream. Perhaps she came up with some very sensible reasons herself.

I know that accepting injustice in our equal and fair driven society is very much a foreign thought. Our culture idolizes fairness.

From a very little age, children play games in which everybody wins. Equal treatment is expected, and when not given, demanded. Teenagers spend hours arguing with parents about what is fair in having a cell phone, dating, curfews, what to wear, or driving privileges. Our perspective of justice is based upon what is perceived as “the norm.” Being forced to live outside that box of “norm” is injustice.

But looking into Scripture, this is where we Christians must divide with our culture. Our fight for personal equality and justice takes on a different meaning in the light of the gospel.

1. We know that fairness will never exist in this fallen world. Indeed, we can make strides for equality; for justice, but it will never be attained.

Because of the sinful nature of man equality is not able to be obtained and someone in must give up his or her own justice in order to bring peace. Our earthly form of justice often is more of a win/loose situation than win/win. And how familiar we are with how justice for one person intrudes upon the justice of another!

What a mother deems fair in an unwanted pregnancy takes away what is fair and just for an unborn baby.

What one parent may say is fair in a divorce, robs the other parent from being with his or her child. And what about what is just and fair for the child who rarely has a choice in the matter…

What one hard-working person may say is fair in a promotion is unfair to another co-worker who is equally qualified.

In truth, we all want to be treated well and we want what we see as best. Fairness is the word we often utilize to get what we feel is best for ourselves. Because of our self-loving, sinful natures, fairness, equality, and justice are completely perverted.

I have a haunch, if it were even possible to live in a world that was impeccably just in every way, we would still cry out from our own perceptions…”That is not fair!”

“Liberty and justice for all,” is truly a worthy goal, but we must learn to be at peace, that until the Christ comes to rule this world, such a goal cannot be attained, only striven for.

2. For Christians, the gospel is priority. It is so easy for everything to seem more important than what is most important. I have been at fault for getting caught in a noble cause and completly neglecting the power of the gospel.

Only the gospel has the power to change the world.

When Christ came to earth, the Roman empire was in rule over many nations, including the Jewish people. The Jewish people in Christ’s day longed for their Messiah to come and set them free from the unjust rule of the Roman Empire.

To the Jews surprise, their Messiah did not come to set them free from Roman rule. Christ’s purpose was not a temporary one, but an eternal. Christ did not come to set human captives free from their masters, but to set the souls of men free from the captivity of sin!

How, we in our day, fail to grasp the horrors that the captivity of sin brings to the human soul! It is truly the worst plight of humanity.

Man’s inability to fulfill his created purpose to bring God glory in a relationship with his Creator is a far greater desperation to all injustices among mankind. In fact, it is even the cause of all the troubles of the world.

Trying to bring change to the world apart from the gospel is like slapping a bandage over a spreading Melanoma. The skin problem can look like it is non-exsistent, but it is far from being cured until it is killed to the very root.

Yes, we ought to fight for what is biblically right. Every bearer of God’s image must be treated with sacred dignity. But we gravely fail in our quest for righteousness if we strive to bring change apart from the gospel. So as we walk about in this dark, unfair world, we, who believe in the redemption brought about on the cross are under every obligation to share it with our fellowman.

3. Our idea of what is just and fair is not same God’s, because our perspective is not the same as God’s. My warped, self-focused heart is tempted to put God into my little box of “my view”, instead of seeing Him as Scripture describes as utterly sovereign, holy, and in complete authority. Even in the choosing of those He would and would not redeem. How dare I think that my code of fairness is better than God’s!


“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” I Peter 3:18

My heart was once against God. It could do nothing righteous. Even the little goodness I thought I did, was disgusting in comparison to the absolute perfection of my Creator. My path was my own, not God’s. I could pretend it looked like God’s but it was a false identity.

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Is. 64:6

As a result of putting myself on the throne of my life, the God who made all things-Who put each atom together with a word-had every right to obliterate me.

In fact, He has every right to consume all His self-worshiping creation. That would be completely fair…completely just. Governments in our world are completely understood in their prerogative to destroy anyone who dares usurp rule over them or attempt to harm to their kingdom in any way.

What did God, the Creator-King of all mankind do? He made a way for me, to be in sweet, blessed communion with Him. I can come to Him, without fear, to the very throne room. How did He do that? By exchanging the place of where I should be with His Son. So instead of destroying me, punishing me, and condemning my life and soul to eternal destruction. He destroyed His only, absolutely perfect Son. He condemned His Son. His Son is the One who was forsaken. Christ experienced all the worst of God’s wrath, for me.


Tears fill my eyes at this thought.

My sinful, rebellious heart deserves nothing but God’s wrath. I deserve death. I deserve to eternally waste in hell. I deserve every miserable thing in life.

But that is not what I have been given. I have been given mercy. I have been given grace. I have been given forgiveness. I have been given an eternal inheritance in the very kingdom I once despised.

And yes, to my dear children, it is completely unfair that I should enjoy even a spoonful of ice-cream.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8

The Ministry of Scents of the Home

I have always been rather sensitive about smells. When I was pregnant, those sensitivities would escalate to the point I wanted to crawl out of my skin to even take out the trash. Once when I was pregnant, we had dead possum under our porch. The horrible smell leached into our basement and then into the entire house. I found it unbearable to the point I packed up the children and left the house for the day. When my sweet husband came home and saw my distress, he removed the porch floorboards and shoveled out the rotting possum. Then he poured bleach over the entire area. Without the consuming horrid smell, my heart was again at peace.

Smell has a greater affect on our hearts than we realize. Potent, stifling smells can be very stressful and make us want to run as far away as we can. Warm, welcoming smells of stewing applesauce and fresh bread, vanilla and spices, or even a clean, crisp lemon scent can set a tone that makes our hearts be at peace and want to stay a while.

Within the home, creating inviting scents and working to keep unpleasant odors under control is therefore essential in preparing a platform for ministry to happen within our walls. The sense of smell, is therefore a wonderful tool I can use in my pursuit of creating a home environment the welcomes spiritual growth and joy in God.

Pay attention to the smells of the home. So often we become accustomed to smells within our walls, that other people might find foreign or uncomfortable. As much as I enjoy fish, I am careful to chose the nights I will cook it. If I am expecting company after dinner, fish will not be on the menu. Although it does not have an odor I find appalling, for many people, the smell of fish is extremely potent and unpleasant.

Animals that live in the home can also make a home smell. It is important to keep indoor dwelling creatures clean and the places they hang out washed and freshened regularly. We do not have an indoor cat, but have kept ours indoors during certain stages of his life so I know that if there is a cat in the house, the kitty littler should be in a room that is tucked away from the rest of the living space…a laundry room, sun-room, or closet where a door can be shut on the ever present odor.

There various are smells that are built into the walls of our home and therefore a constant that we must work to mask or continually re-eliminate. We lived in an old farmhouse for a few years and it always had a very musty smell. In the room above the wet basement, was a den with wood paneling on every wall. I found rubbing that wood paneling down with a mixture of cinnamon oil and coconut oil made the house smell fabulous for weeks.

Carpets and walls may hold in smell from ourselves or even previous dwellers. while fresh paint often takes care of the walls, carpets can be far more difficult to deodorize. Despite the wide market of products on the market, the smell will keep coming back. I recently invested in a carpet cleaner for our current home and it has made a big difference in freshening up the carpets on occasion. Baking soda sprinkled on the carpet and left overnight can be helpful. But powdered products are awfully hard on the vacuum cleaner, so they shouldn’t be used except in extreme cases. For me, just keeping a regular carpet cleaning is the best move. I have sprinkled peppermint or lavender oil on the car carpets and car-seats from time to time. That doesn’t eliminate bad orders, but can cover them up in a natural and pleasant way.

If at all possible use natural scents in the home. This is an area that is still in progress for me. I love to burn candles, but finding candles that are safe to breath hasn’t always been a priority because of the cost and accessibility. But after having a guest with sensitivities to a candle I burned, I will at least do my best to burn a naturally scented candle when we have visitors.

I already clean with natural products as I discussed in the post, Household Cleaning on the Cheap, Practical, and Natural. Cleaning products are certainly a vital area we homemakers need to watch. Many products we use daily and  weekly, are not only toxic to breathe, but can cause severe allergic reactions to some people. I want a home that has air as safe to breathe as I can am able to create.

Chemical scents are often loaded into laundry as well. Guests with allergies would be unable to stay with us if I wasn’t careful about the products I use in laundry. My husband is also one of those who is sensitive to laundry softeners. So, if I must include softener in my laundry, I am careful to get one that is natural and hypoallergenic…yes…and unscented. But laundry doesn’t have to be boring. A few drops of lavender oil on a rag can brighten up the smell of hot clean clothes tossing in the dryer. I also LOVE a laundry line. Read about that more in my Laundry on the Line post. Nothing has a more amazing scent than line dried sheets and clothing!

I am very opinionated on the subject of plug-ins and sprays that are made to make a room smell good. They can be incredibly overpowering and in fact even though they might not stink like a dead possum, they make many folks…like me…gag. I find the artificial smells overpowering and believe many others do as well. Instead a diffuser with a favorite blend of essential oils, a few spices in a pot of simmering water (or mini crock pot), a naturally scented vanilla candle, fresh flowers, potted plants, or even a batch of freshly baked bread can make a home smell incredible without concern of causing anyone discomfort.

Cleanliness is vital to maintaining a home without bad odors. One of the most effective ways to keep a home smelling pleasant is simply to keep it clean. Some of the most notorious bad smells in the home are poopy diapers, kitty litter, and un-emptied trash cans.

My children collect trash throughout every room in the house on a daily basis. I empty those baskets in the kitchen trash, and take it out to the trash bins outside. Baby diapers get wrapped tightly in a special bag to lock in the smells, or they get put in a diaper bin. Kitty litter should be changed daily to prevent it from any odor. I already discussed carpets, but carpets and wood can absorb smells.

Wood is like skin, when it is warm and humid it opens up and releases all those lovely or less lovely smells. Wood floors and paneling can be cleaned with a gentle soap and water (I favor Murphy’s oil). Then the wood can be nourished with a simple blend of a cheap oil like sunflower oil and a few drops of an essential oil. I like to rub oil into the wood just after it has been cleaned with warm water.

Dust has a smell. Have you ever turned on a heater the first brisk day of fall and smelled the dust getting hot? Well, imagine a layer of dust on blinds, furniture, or framework. Being faithful at wiping off the dust can be very helpful in keeping a room smelling fresh.

Appliances can hold odors as well…dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines need to be cleaned as well. Appliances should all work without producing any bad odors. For tips on how I clean, check out how I use baking soda and vinegar in my home in My Household Friend: Baking Soda and The Role of White Vinegar in My Home. And just a thought…if you have a vacuum cleaner that has a dusty smell even after it has been emptied, it is time to ditch it and get a new vacuum. A vacuum cleaner should function without any smell.

Fresh air is a wonderful way to keep a home smelling good. Open the windows in the spring and fall can really help air out the house and keep fresh air rotating. The smell of fresh air naturally soothes my mind and a the smells of flowers, soil, and trees give my heart thoughts of God’s goodness.

Prepare for bad smells. The bathroom is a place where bad smells occur. It is a great idea to keep a plan on hand to mask unpleasantries to noses. A bathroom spray or a match are very effective and should be kept available for guests as well as ourselves to use as needed. When we have guests, keeping a candle burning in the bathroom is an easy way to remove the potential of embarrassing smells. If possible one should also make sure there is a way for air to circulate within a bathroom by keeping a vent or window open a crack at all times.

Bad odors can also occur in the kitchen. Even kept clean, a fridge can breed odor. A box of baking soda is a helpful odor absorbing product to keep in freezers and refrigerators. I simply punch a few holes in the top of my baking soda box and put the whole box in the back of the refrigerator and freezer. The kitchen trash should be emptied daily. Our trash is emptied more like 2-3 times a day. Burnt foods should be disposed of outdoors as quickly as possible. If you are planning to do a project inside the house that will involve paints or chemicals, plan those projects on warmer days if possible so windows can be opened for ventilation.

The sense of smell enhances all of our other senses. Because of smell, food has taste, flowers have freshness, and a walk in the woods is so refreshing. Smell is like salt to our sense of sight, hearing, touch, and taste…perhaps it could be lived without, but life is far better with a sense of smell! As a homemaker, I certainly try to put smell to good use to enhance the overall flavor of my home into a place that nurtures our souls and opens pathways for our heart to rejoice in our Creator.

The Ministry of Taste in the Home

Food thought a very temporal and tangible substance has incredible spiritual implications and is essential to the life of the body, and theretofore the life of the soul within the body. The sense of taste, is therefore an essential ministry we homemakers need to study for use in our home.

Foods served in each home very much reflect the culture and lifestyle of that home. As the post, Ministering Through Physical Senses in the Home describes, there is no right or wrong on the matter, we each will make foods we serve based upon our upbringing, who we married, allergies, time constraints, nutritional needs and eating habits, as well as our level of joy and comfort in cooking.

In biblical times eating was not only treasured during fellowship with others, but various foods and feasts held specific symbolism. Our constant need for physical nourishment is symbolic of our need for constant spiritual nourishment. Taste can open up incredible pathways for our spirits to be nourished.

Food provides opportunities for fellowship and spiritual conversations with our own family as well as with friends and un-churched folks. How often our own family has lingered around a dinner table as we discuss a topic of our faith. Or in small group, food is an avenue that allows us to ponder our faith and lives together as we share a snack together after Bible study. Food slows us down and gives us a reason to linger a moment with others. Even a simple cup of tea is all that is needed to pause in life, to be still, alone or shared with others.

I try to keep a balance of eating habits in our home. Taste has so many intricate affects and meets various needs from celebration, to nutrition, and to prayer. All should be included thoughtfully through the patterns of home-making.

On a daily basis, I serve the best food I can afford that will enrich the bodies of my family. Wholesome food helps us think clearly and have energy to serve others. I find if I am not eating balanced meals and snacks, my mental clarity and physical stamina plummet. I go into more depth about how my faith affects impacts healthy eating habits in the post:  Pursuing Health for God’s Glory. Someone once told me that it is those who are sick who eat the healthiest diets. It is because the sick are the ones who are who realize the value nutrients bring their bodies because the sick hunger for healing so their souls can engage in life without the restrictions their body presents. One should not wait until our bodies malfunction before beginning healthy eating practices. Each day is the time to nourish our body, so we can be as physically fit as possible for us. Yes, that level of health will vary from person to person depending on the body God has given us and its age. Regardless, it is our responsibility to maintain properly, just like our car, our house, and our children. We must care for our bodies the best we know how to do. Food should be eaten with others in mind, not for our temporary selfish comfort.

I make it a priority in our home to share the tastes of our home with others. When I share the tastes of our home, I am essentially sharing the goodness God has poured upon us, with others. I LOVE doing that! I like to keep casseroles, bread, and soups in my freezer at all times. It is so easy to grab a few items and deliver them to whomever the Lord lays on my heart at any given moment. If I have nothing adequate prepared, I have a small list of “go to” comfort dishes to take to folks. We once had a sweet neighbor, and I enjoyed setting aside a portion of the food I made to tun over to her. I also love having others in our home to share food around our table and fellowship! My point is that we must find ways we can share the tastes of our home with others. So often we wait too long for opportunistic to pop up instead of making our own opportunities. Sharing food with others can be done on a weekly basis without too much effort. We can run some cookies to our neighbors, take a jar of home-made soup to a sick family we know, invite folks over for a meal, run a surprise dinner over to the single working mom across the street…with food in our hands, we can intrude into others lives with ease. For those who want to learn more about how to minister with food, I do include more practical tips about sharing food in the post: Sharing Meals With Others.

I like to use food as a tool of showing God’s goodness to hurting hearts. Food can provide a level of comfort. Eating food for the comfort it brings is not entirely evil. There are seasons in our lives where we draw comfort from silence, music, a walk in nature, or a cuddle with a furry creature by the fire. God has made an incredible world full of little things that bring us joy. Now, God is certainly the source of eternal, lasting comfort. Truths from Scripture will provide our souls with the kind of comfort that heals our wounds. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” II Corinthians 1:3-4. Food can be an incredible tool that can help us reflect on God, His goodness, and blessing. Sometimes a meal from the past brings comfort as we are reminded of sweet memories and blessings the Lord has given us in the years before. Sometimes a meal taken to a hurting soul provides comfort as that meal is eaten with thoughts of not facing trials alone and God’s sustaining grace through each moment. Food shared with hurting souls can be such a beautiful picture of the table prepared for us by our Loving Shepherd. If I know my husband has had a rough day at work, I will often choose to cook something comforting, a favorite casserole or meat and potatoes dish, I can ease the stress of his day by preparing a meal that will bring rest to his soul. Food, like no other sense, can aid in helping souls see the many blessings in their lives and praise God for His goodness. 

Food can serve as a means of celebration. A dear friend of mine once pulled me aside as I struggled over the enormous amounts of sugar being fed to my children during Christmas. She kindly reminded me that throughout the history of Israel, various feasts were encouraged to help the people remember the faithfulness of God. The Passover is one such feast and every item in the Passover meal is symbolic for s And as Christians, we should embrace seasons of feasting with grace, not guilt. Certain foods are customary in our home for specific holidays. As a home-maker, I can use those foods in ways that will help my children remember the holiday and remember the goodness of God as we make and enjoy Christmas cookies, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon rolls. Those are not every-day foods, but ones reserved for a day of worship and joy in our God. It is not enjoyed in vain. Now, there are traditions others in our family hold to certain feasting days, we are not all the same, and we can change some of our traditions into healthier versions if we so desire. Now, feasting does not mean gluttony. I will note here that gluttony and feasting are different. Feasting is a heart enjoying in gratitude for God’s blessing. Gluttony is over-indulging in food with a thankless, mindless greed. Gluttony is always a sin, and has nothing to do with how much a person weighs, but about the greedy heart of the thankless eater.

The absence of food is also important when we homemakers set aside time to fast. I am a firm believer in the art of fasting and prayer. I have seen the Lord work amazing things when I have set aside my physical hungers in my desperation to see the Lord work. My heart in prayer with even more fervency than on a full stomach. As my body feels the pangs of hunger the hunger fills my prayers. For those who have not taken a time to fast, it is well worth the effort. Yes, it takes discipline, but it is amazing to me how the physical cravings can be flipped into spiritual cries from my soul. I have a friend who would set aside Sunday’s to fast and pray. Another who fasts every Wednesday for his children. One day doesn’t make me hungry enough to bring my soul into fervent prayer. I often prefer to do a week to three week increment. It isn’t always going completely without food either, sometimes limiting myself to bone broth or a simple vegetable soup once a day keeps me hungry, but also gives me enough energy to keep up with my children for that time. Recently, Esther has come to mind and her request to Mordecai that he and all Israel fast and pray with her before she went to see the king. “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” Esther 4:16. The people of Nineveh also fasted and prayed fervently as described in Jonah 3:5-8. Desperate people will fast and pray. Are we not desperate? Fasting is not practiced by many Christians. It is almost as though we are awkward even talking about it. Many people don’t even know what it means to fast. Most of us simply don’t make time for it in our lives. We fear the discomfort we will have from fasting more than the spiritual discomfort we experience. Fasting should not be something we are self-conscious about as Christians. It should be a way of life. But as Jesus reminds us, we are not to tote it about pridefully either. It is not a badge of honor, it is a humbling, serious, prayerful experience we should make plans to embrace in our lives.

Regular meal times are invaluable. In our own home, I guard mealtimes. We have a dining room, which I love. That is where we sit down every evening together to eat dinner. I try to keep meals “on the go” to a bare minimum and plan our schedules around dinner-time. It is a time our family can re-group, fellowship with each others, and well…learn how to love others by practicing good manners. Our sit down dinners vary in formality depending upon the meal and time I have in the day to prepare dinner. But we always sit together. My husband’s evening work hours are always different depending upon meetings and sometimes traffic. So, we do have a later dinner hour than most. On rare occasions I will feed the children early, but in general we wait until he is home so we can enjoy dinner together. The family dinner table is not something required in Scripture. It is very much a personal endeavor as a home-maker to connect the lives of everyone inside the home for one short period in the day. It also enables me to make sure balanced eating habits are maintained. I believe it is an important time for my children to share their day with their busy Daddy too. Maintaining dinnertime is a way I have found that, whether they know it or not, ministers to the souls of my husband and children.

I love being able to use tastes to minister to not only my own soul, but everyone I can! Food is truly a versatile toll of ministry like no other. I do believe how I use taste in the home is an evolving process, and will continue to grow and change through the years as  I continue to taste the goodness from the table of my heavenly Father!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Ps. 34:8