Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting My Goat

This week, I bought a big honkin' log of goat cheese.  I like to spread it on triscuits for a quick snack or even lunch.  But, I also use it for two of my favorite recipes:

Roll goat cheese in chopped dried cranberries and pistachios.  Spread on crackers.  This is a crowd-pleaser.  It's great any time a year, but the colors are perfect for Christmas.
The second is fried or baked goat cheese.  Simply slice the goat cheese when it is very cold.  Dip in egg batter.  I have even used egg-beaters.  Dip in panko bread crumbs.  And, bake at about 350 degrees, turning once until slightly soft and browned.  Or, fry.  When I say "fry," I mean spray with Pam, and cook until browned.
 I like to serve on salad with balsamic vinegar.  Adding rotisserie chicken to the salad doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding Your Children in the Bible

Before I start, let me just say the Bible is not about me or my kids; it's about God.  But, I found myself getting a little creative the other day as we were studying together.  I am currently reading Acts to my kids.  I stop along the way to give explanations, but they are fairly attentive as the book is full of entertaining stories, and they are full of questions.  It has been one of my favorite parts of our summer.

We were reading the story of Stephen in Acts 6-7, Stephen's speech was getting lengthy, the "littles" were starting to stand on their heads and make funny noises, and I began seeing a pattern with the speech.  So... I told everyone to listen for their name because they were all in Stephen's speech, kindof...

Cooper's middle name is Stephens, so while it is a family name, it originates from the martyr Stephen "crown".  A few sentences into Stephen's speech, he mentions Abraham.  Abraham was married to Sarah "princess" (my 10 year old).  At the end of his speech, he mentions David, which finally gives opportunity to the least attentive Abby (Abigail -- a wife of David, "My father is Joy").  There is nowhere else in the Bible that all three of my children are linked together in name.  Pretty cool.  They were thrilled!

Your children may not have the names of men/women in the Bible, but you may find stories/personalities/situations that relate to them.  Sometimes we have to be creative in keeping their attention.  As long as we are pointing them to the gospel and not themselves, there is no harm in that.  Have fun coming up with ways to keep them interested!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Idols

"Idolatry is when anything that was created to point to God replaces God in the thoughts and desires of your heart." Paul Tripp

I don't have wooden or bronze statues on my shelves.  I believe those gods are unresponsive to worship.  I believe in worshipping a living God, but I am no stranger to the sin and repentance of my own idolatry.

My idolatry comes in placing the things in my life before God:
I like to have a decent schedule in my home.  Everything runs better that way. When everything is clean, homework is complete, meals are prepared, and everyone is doing things my way, life is just better.  I call it scheduling. When it rules me, it's the the idol of control.

There are times I am plagued with the fear of losing my children.  There is an element of control that kicks in with me wanting to be over-protective.  Or, I fear dying because I believe there is no one who can care for my kids better than I can.  When I love people more than I love God, they are my idol.

I am safe.  When I feel God shoving me out of my comfort zone, I dig in my heels a little and beg Him to leave me alone.  Things are fine the way they are.  I don't need to be stretched.  Why can't you just leave me alone?  I idolize comfort.   

We sing a song at church that says, "My heart will sing no other name -- Jesus."  Sometimes, I have a hard time joining in because I know my heart sings other names.  I don't have idols on my shelf, but control, people, and comfort can serve as my idols; they can't give life any more than statues can.  "What a wretched [wo]man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Salad

The tastiest way to make chicken salad?
Roast chicken in olive oil and salt/pepper for 30-45 min. at 400 degrees then shred chicken finely.

The easiest way to make chicken salad?
Buy Kirkland's canned chicken from Costco and open 6 cans, drain and dump in a bowl.
(Learned from my friend Kelly)

This is the base I generally use for my chicken salad:
Mayonnaise (Hellmann's with Olive Oil)
Sour Cream
Canola Oil (just to keep it from drying)
A touch of mustard (any kind)
A touch of lemon juice

We also add a lot to our chicken salad:
Red Onion
Almonds or Walnuts
And, tonight, bacon (turkey bacon from a bag)

Have you ever had hot chicken salad?
This is a great recipe:
Hot Chicken Salad on the Food Network

Renewed Sexual Integrity

The sexual integrity you have before marriage is the sexual integrity you have after marriage.  Saying vows and signing a certificate doesn't change that.  Many couples think wearing a grand outfit surrounded by their closest friends and spending thousands of dollars on that magical night will change everything.  It will change the way he talks to me.  It will change the way she spends money.  It will change his commitments. It will change her religious preferences.  It will change the heart of sexual purity. But, that is not the case.

Chris and I were shocked by the lack of sexual purity in our marriage, but we weren't shocked by our lack of integrity before marriage.  We wanted to show each other grace because of the shame, so we ignored the fact that we had issues to deal with.  So many couples find it acceptable to live how they choose before marriage because they think it will change after the vows.

In meeting with couples for premarital counseling, Chris and I have heard some mention past experiences as "a mistake" and certainly some with shame. There are some in rebellion who will not hear the counsel of waiting until after the wedding date.  Still, there are some who have their virginity, but there is no purity of heart and mind.  If you find it acceptable to have sex outside of marriage before marriage, what is keeping you from having sex outside of marriage after marriage?

A new situation or circumstance cannot change purity.  Only the renewal of our hearts and minds.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Layers of SOS

SOS or Service Over Self is a ministry in Memphis that exists to glorify God by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed through urban home repair camps.  Our family has had exposure to and been somewhat involved with the ministry over the years, but this week, our church, "adopted" SOS114.

Layers is what comes to mind when I think of yesterday.  Service in layers. The word picture of service Over self unfolded for me in a way that expanded across generations, community and races.
Here are a few ways:

1.  High school kids are in town serving middle-aged to elderly home owners in Orange Mound.  College-aged kids intern with SOS to lead the high school kids.  Children ranging from ages 5-12 serve the high school kids and leaders by handing them popsicles while they work in the heat.  Layers of generations.

2. Our church signed up to serve the campers at SOS114 this week.  That means, each night, a small group will serve the high school students and leaders in Orange Mound by preparing the food already provided or providing food and cleaning the kitchen.  Someone also shows up with popsicles each day for the hot workers and prays for them before their day begins.  Layers of community.

3.  With each home we visited, an SOS leader shared the story behind their work.  Shelley told the kids about the neighborhood and the needs of the people in such a way that I hope is forever imprinted on my mind.  At each stop, we heard the name of the home owner.  Our children prayed for them and their needs.  At the last home, my 7 year old prayed.  Abby prayed for Teddy.  White Abby for African-American Teddy.  How many times has my child seen the broken-down home of a man in Orange Mound and felt moved to pray for restoration, crossing racial barriers that she may not even see?  Opportunities of SOS, providing layers of... grace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strength Not My Own

In John 6 after saying some pretty tough things and losing many followers, Jesus turns to his 12 disciples and says, You do not want to leave too, do you?  In Luke chapter 7, after John the Baptist had announced the coming of the Messiah and landed in prison, he questioned, Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?

Sometimes I'm tempted to bolt.  Sometimes I question.  Specifically, for me, there have been times when Chris' work situations have been bad and relationships have been tough.  I've told God over the job stuff if this is what you want from me, then maybe I just want out.  And with the relationships this is obviously not the way you intended this to turn out.  My faith is weak, and I know in those times I can't continue to follow a God who wants all of me.  But, then I'm reminded that it's not in my own strength that I must follow. It's not in my own strength that I obey.  

But he said to me,"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

You are not saved because of the quality of your faith but the object of your faith. Tim Keller

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What I Learned At Camp

Sarah (10) went to camp last week for the first time.  She wanted to blog about her experience.

While I was at camp for a week, I learned about these things........

1. I learned that God has a calling for you. Witch means that god has something that's just for you that you need to do.

2. I learned about Paul and how he went through some rough times.

3. I learned about how God is with you even in rough times like Paul was. God was with him.

4. I learned that girls are crazy. I'm pretty sure all the girls stayed up till 12:00 every night. And I know that they were doing silly things.

5. I learned that I shouldn't tell everyone that it's my birthday because when I told 1 of my friends they told one of the counselors that it was my b-day and so she stood up on a chair in the lunch room and everybody to sing happy birthday to me. It was really embarrassing.

6. And last but not least while I was listening to the pastor talk about missionaries and so I decided that it would be cool to be one so I talked to a counselor about it and I told her that I wanted to be a missionary because people at my church go to different countries to tell people about Jesus. Because if I tell one person they might tell other people and they might tell other people and then other people come to know more about him.

Feel Like Your Job is Useless, Mom?

When I was rolling out of bed this morning, Chris was just getting in from his weekly mentoring meeting with a younger guy.  They are studying Romans 2.  He has several morning and lunch appointments this week with young adults and had a few last week.  I am proud of my husband.  I love that he mentors others, that he takes an interest in them and they in him.

But, let's just be honest for a minute.  As a mom, do you ever have those moments of...  I want to take a shower and mentor a Millennial today.  I want to have deep spiritual discussion and break down Romans 2.  I want to have lunch at Humdingers and talk about what God is doing in my life over sweet potato fries.  I want to drink coffee while it's hot and not be interrupted to pour cinnamon toast crunch.

Well, I've had and have these moments.  These times are too short to wallow for long.  The days are long, but the years are quick.  Mothers, the diapers changed, the books read, the long hours at home are not wasted.  Don't think for one minute that what you're doing does not matter.  Pointing lives to Christ is no small task.  Sidenote:  If you desire to mentor younger girls, they will come to you.  If you are a stay-at-home-mom, invite younger girls into your home.

Sometimes to get myself going, I need a plan.
So, what are we doing today? (Not necessarily in this order)
1.  Math flash cards (Sarah, multiplication -- Abby, addition)
2.  Computer time -- 30 minutes each because everyone helped clean house last night
3.  Pillow fight -- I took this idea from someone else
4.  Reading time -- 1 hour each day, the public library gives great rewards
5.  Bible time -- we've been reading 15 min. a day, just started reading through Acts
6.  Tonight -- Jerry's Sno Cones

I like this blog post for multiple reasons, but if you're having a hard time seeing how your time at home is benefiting your children, read this:  What I Don’t Look For In a Church

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Criticism? Positive?

Honestly, I didn't know there was a positive side to criticism, but after reading this article, I think I'm convinced.  Thom Rainer is the President of Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of many books.  I read this post on his blog this morning, and I think I will refer back to it when seeking a more positive outlook on criticism.

I think it's safe to say we recoil when criticized, even if someone is so kind to place the word "constructive" in front.  But, there is also maturity in receiving criticism well.  Did I just say that?  I hope I don't have to eat my words.  I hope you enjoy the article.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Traffic Doesn't Make Everyone Angry

Have you ever been agitated in traffic and looked around at other drivers only to see them singing?  How about in a classroom when someone is repeatedly clicking their pen and you could go through the roof but no one else seems to mind?  Maybe you can't stand a particular person at work or your child's school but everyone seems to get along with that person fine or enjoy their company.  There may have been a time in church when you were shooting daggers at the worship guy or pastor but everyone else seemed focused on God or content listening to the preaching of the Word.  Is there a particular race that causes you to feel superior, but when you look around, everyone else seems unaffected?

There is something great about conviction.  I've been reading Paul Tripp's book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, and something he points out is sticking with me in all of my minor and major irritations.  He says, "Though there are situations and relationships that we all dread, there is enough variety in the how, when and where of our anger to suggest that something else is going on.  That something is the heart.  We do not respond to people and situations in the same way because we do not bring the same heart to them.  This is why any attempt to examine the causes of conflict must begin with the heart."

No one can make me angry.  Not my children.  Not my husband.  
Traffic cannot make me irritated.  Not a pen.  Not a mother at school.  Not a boss.
Church cannot make me unhappy.  Not a pastor.  Not the music. 
A race cannot make me angry.  Not situationally.  Not generationally.

Everything is about the heart.  When I am mad at someone, I have to look at my heart.  When I am impatient, I have to look at the heart.  When irritated, the heart.  And, simply changing my behavior will only clean it up until the next shoe drops.  Behavior modification will never work.  The only cure for an impure heart is Christ and what Luther said was the consistent pattern of the Christian life:  repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

As children, we obey our parents.  As adult children, we honor our parents.  I certainly wasn't great at the former, but I try a little harder at the latter.  In honor of my dad on Father's Day, here are a few things that come to mind when thinking of my dad although the list is not exhaustive.
Some great things about my dad:
1.  My dad can build/fix anything.  If he can't, he'll figure it out.
2.  My dad has always provided for his family.  Always.
3.  My dad is loyal and committed.
4.  He believes in a job well done.  If it's not done well, it's not worth doing.
5.  He loves his grandchildren.  He would do anything for them.
6.  He is dedicated to the Body of Christ.
7.  His faith in Christ has never wavered.
8.  My dad is simplistic (to the point of saving the cotton from a medicine bottle).
9.  He loves a chainsaw.
10.  His house is always open to anyone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mothers, God is Sovereign

Nearly three years ago, our neighbors' son (in his mid 20s) had a tragic accident.  He barely survived and now has very low brain function and is completely dependent on his parents.  Chris and I talk with the parents regularly and have built a friendship with them.  They are pleasant and loving.  They are dedicated parents who haven't shown an ounce of bitterness.  They've never expressed that God owed them something for the "good" they've done.

It was time for them to be empty-nesters and put their feet up when their whole world came crashing down.  I expressed this recently to the mom, and she just grinned.  I also told her that when she was out playing with her son, like I do with Cooper, she could have never dreamed this would have happened.  She shook her head.  I don't judge.  It could have been me, and none of my children are exempt from what happened to hers.  She tries to not let herself drown in what could be an ocean of guilt.  She would never escape.  Jesus can redeem any situation.  That's what I told her.  She agrees.

As mothers, we all know this guilt too well.  I've stayed at home from day one with my kids, and there have still been nights when I feel I didn't give enough.  I want to do the best I can do knowing they have their own strong wills, and above both of those, there is still the Sovereign one.  That's where we have to rest.

Gary Thomas in Sacred Parenting says, "None of us can be such good parents that God becomes obligated to save our children's souls.  On the more encouraging end, none of us can mess up so badly that our children somehow extend beyond the reach of God's mercy."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad...Maybe

When hanging out with three couples the other night, one of the husbands was trying to get his wife to come around to his way of thinking.  The other wife and I agreed with him, and he said, "See, two out of three moms agree!"  So that should always seal the deal, right?  Well, let's just say the other wife and I are a what my husband calls "a little rough around the edges."  Would that make a difference?  Maybe the two out of three aren't the best two to ask.

Let's shift the situation to more serious matters.  Who are the 2 out of 3 you turn to when seeking advice?  Do they offer worldly wisdom or Godly wisdom?  Do you even know the difference?  We like to have our ears tickled.  We're encouraged by the world to only spend time with those who give us "positive energy." I don't even know what the heck that is.  What about those who challenge us with the Word of God?  It is okay to walk away from a friend feeling like you may not be making the right decisions because you may not be.  Do you run from that or embrace it? 

Isaiah's time was no different:
These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.  They say to the seers, "See no more visions!"  and to the prophets, "Give us 
no more visions of what is right!  
Tell us pleasant things
prophesy illusions.  Leave this way, get off this path, and 
stop confronting us 
with the Holy One of Israel!  Isaiah 30:9-11

If your 2 out of 3 are always agreeing with you that you're doing the right thing, you may want to add a fourth or fifth.  Stick close to people who challenge you spiritually.  Seek wise counsel.  And, ask the Spirit to discern for you if their "counseling is rooted in the revelation of the Creator."  Paul David Tripp

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Rhythm That Is Children

I once heard an expecting mother say she and her husband were bringing their child into their world.  Their lives would not revolve around the baby but he would simply begin to develop into their rhythms and they would not stop for his.  I thought that was a good idea for about the first three months of Sarah's life while she was in a carrier putting up little fight.  Now, with three children ranging from 5 to 10, I think it is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

I will also say this:  I expect my children to be very independent.  I do not jump when they ask for a drink.  They help clean the house, and they take their own showers.  Sarah does all of her own homework and projects.  Abby cuts her own fingernails.  Cooper brushes his own teeth (when so inspired).  They can tear this house apart, but they also know how to put it back together.  As independent as my children are expected to be, I still think the above comments are delusional.

Chris and I are finding that our kids, possibly now more than ever, require all of us.  We're okay with that (most days).  They need attention and discipleship.  They need Jesus weaved into every fiber of their emotional and spiritual growth.  We find ourselves saying that Sarah is halfway finished with the time she will spend in our home.  We are halfway finished pouring all we can into her before she leaves. (Our older friends are reminding us that they really start leaving around 14 or 15.  Ouch!)

How naive we are to expect that our kids will not disrupt our lives and schedules!  What joy we miss in not submitting to that (at times)!  Pour into them!  The time is now!  These years are exhausting, but we want to know that we have discipled our children well and give glory to God for the rhythm that is children.

Disclaimer:  I do not do this well.  Part of the reason I expect my children to be independent is because I am selfish.  I'm trying to learn to get up early to get things done to not put my kids on the back-burner.  I like to blog and look at twitter.  I have a small side job and keep up with our bills at home.  I have a tendency to make my kids busy themselves while I do things I like to do.  I'm trying to learn to do some of these things before they get up, so that they are not constantly having to revolve around me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grace Upon Grace

You know how you read a book and love it then the movie comes out? You want to see it but you're afraid it will ruin the book?  It usually does, but you want to see it anyway.  I felt that anticipation this past Sunday.  I love the first chapter of the book of John.  I love being reminded that Jesus is God.  I love that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  I love that from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.

I love reading that chapter over and over.  There is a part of me that wants to keep it to myself.  At the same time, I know someone more studied than myself needs to open it up for me and give a better explanation.  I guess I'm afraid someone will butcher its beauty.  I knew Gib wouldn't do that -- part of the reason I like to sit under his teaching.  He is a gifted teacher whose focus is never less than the centrality of the Gospel. We are entering an incredible series in the book of John entitled "Believe."  For a better understanding of the first chapter of the book of John, please listen here.

And, I cannot go without sharing the words to one of my favorite songs that come from the first chapter of John:

Grace Upon Grace
Sandra McCracken

In every station, new trials and new troubles
Call for more grace than I can afford
Where can I go but to my dear Savior
For mercy that pours from boundless stores.
Grace upon grace, every sin repaired
Every void restored, you will find Him there
In every turning He will prepare you
With grace upon grace.
He made a way for the fallen to rise
Perfect in glory and sacrifice
In sweet communion my need He supplies
He saves and keeps and guards my life
To Thee I run now with great expectation
To honor You with trust like a child
My hopes and desires seek a new destination
and all that You ask Your grace will provide.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are You In The Pink?

Memphis seems to have a great number of low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store.  Many are below poverty level and have low access to healthy food.  Below is the website for "The Food Desert Locator."  This is an interesting view.  Please take time to consider our neighbors who are lacking the options we take for granted.

Fear Him. Trust Him.

Where do you place your faith?  In what or whom do you trust?  I can usually determine for myself where I am placing my trust based on what I fear.  So, what do you find yourself stewing over?  The next election?  The government?  The stock market?  Your family?  Your income?  Your home?  The school system?

The Lord spoke these words to Isaiah.  Isaiah 8:11-13, says,
The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people.  He said:  "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread..."

Fearing the things of this world should shatter when matched with the holiness of His Lordship.  We have nothing to fear when our trust, reverence and submission is placed rightly, but it cannot be placed in the authorities of this world.  They were never meant to have allegiance over Him.  They are all under His authority.  Fear the One who is worthy of fear.  Trust the One who is worthy of trust.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Prov. 1:7

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Millennial Rejecting Favoritism

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? James 2:1-7

For four weeks in May, Chris and I led a college/young adult Bible study in our home called The Gospel-Centered Life.  The study led to the above passage.  One of our college students had a lot to share about what God is teaching him on the topic.

Chris and I have known Barker Howard for about a year.  We made our first connection over our shared love for Widespread Panic.  Barker is a much more dedicated fan, possibly because everything he does is enveloped with passion.  He wrestles with truth, and his love and concern for people is abounding.  I asked Barker to contribute what God is teaching him about favoritism:

"In my first year at Ole Miss I saw many ways of favoritism that I hadn't been used to seeing before. My eyes were opened to ways of favoritism that I hadn't really thought about before. One of the biggest ways favoritism is shown at Ole Miss is through the Greek life. People often try to find their identity with what fraternity or sorority they are in, and while going Greek can be good in some ways, it can also be a slippery slope if you aren't focused on following God while you are a member of a Greek organization. It is sometimes a trend for people to look down on others, judge others, or even make fun of others because of what Greek group they are either in or aren't in. God really put it on my heart this year to not conform to that and to look at others and love them the same no matter what "group" they fall in. I feel led to be an example to my fraternity brothers to not judge others or look at some differently just because they aren't in a fraternity. In the long run it means nothing which Greek organization I  or anyone else was or wasn't involved with and God loves them the same as He loves me so why should I do differently and not love them the same? My experience has also opened my eyes to the need to stand up for and reach out to those who aren't Greek. For the most part at Ole Miss these people are normally looked down on, and I feel it on my heart to try to reach out to them and show them that I'm not any different, better, or cooler than they are because I am Greek. Once again, at the end of the day God created them and loves them just like He loves me. This year I have learned the importance of standing up against showing favoritism, and how to approach doing that in the setting I am in, or what that "looks like" at Ole Miss. God has put it on my heart to make a difference in the way students show favoritism at my university, and I trust that He will be faithful to bless that. I look forward to getting back in the fall and applying things I have learned this year to help me love others as Christ loved us, without showing favoritism."

Showing partiality is a sin condition of the heart that we need God to change within us.  We love to see college students with that desire for change.  Barker is a millennial, who is different from previous generations -- they want to see change and want to do something about it.  "At 78 million strong, the Millennials - those born between 1980 and 2000 - have surpassed Baby Boomers as the larger and more influential generation in the United States."  This is a fascinating generation.  "To better understand these men and women personally, professionally, and spiritually," check out The Millennials

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Small Group Dessert

I love getting together with my new small group.  They are dependable and encouraging.  They have reminded me of the importance of Magic Shell, which we now keep in our pantry.  One way they have shown their affection for me is by allowing me to share recipes that I enjoy or am trying for the first time.  We will be trying one of those tonight.  You can find it here.

Any recipe that allows me to pipe ingredients through a Ziploc bag is usually a favorite.  Cone-olis were fun and easy to make.  (I left out the almond extract and orange zest).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Praying In Color

One of the greatest books I've bought for my kids is 
Instead of having to journal or write or verbalize prayers that may be difficult at a young age, they can simply do what they already know to do -- color or draw.  

If you find your kids turning flips during prayer time or slapping each other or laughing or eating or walking out of the room to get a toy, or I could go on and on (not from experience of course -- feel free to share your own story in the comments), you may want to invest in this book.  Summer is a great time to get started.

Here is an example of one of Sarah's colorful prayers:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Oh, The Deep, Deep Love

I remember where I was when it happened.  I was meditating on the words of my friends and Scripture from a study a few nights before:  

We don't really understand what sin is.  
There is no one righteous.  
We not only sin but are full of sin.  
Their throats are open graves.  
We aren't capable of following the law.  
All have turned away.

The grace of God came crashing down on me like an avalanche as I realized the depth of my sin.  It still breaks me down.  I hope it always does.

It was then that words like this took new form in my life:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.  Colossians 2:13-15

  1. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

There are so many more, but this post would never end.  It is a great gift of God to realize the depth of our sin, a gift we should pray never ceases.  But there is a gift that is greater:  If it weren't for seeing the depth of my sin, I would have missed the depth of His love.