Check out this Friday Funny…Thanks Cara!
Used cows for sale? Makes me wonder how much new cows are and do they depriciate in value like cars? What do you use a used cow for? Who knows! Cara Croft
You’ll find us right back here on Monday. Take Care!
for Carolyn, Nicole, and Kristin
Last week’s question, “Like Sarah, what “earthly inconvenience” are you experiencing, and how is it “mitigated by the promise of eternal blessing?” provoked a number of wonderful answers. Whether it is the waiting for children or the difficulty of moving (while pregnant!) or the daily struggle with indwelling sin or even the trial of losing something of value—so many of you are hoping in God like Sarah did. The woman we chose to answer this week’s question—Jelinas Lim—has a firm hold of the promises of God in the midst of her earthly inconvenience. May you be encouraged by her example to trust in God’s Word.
I am twenty-eight years old and unmarried, and it sure is an earthly inconvenience.
Aside from the practical inconveniences like not having a man around to fix leaky faucets or help carry in the groceries, there are also spiritual and emotional inconveniences, like not having someone to rebuke you when you are wasting time at home or not having someone to encourage you when you’re discouraged.
It’s even inconvenient to go to weddings. You have to drive yourself and then sit at the reception with a bunch of twenty-three-year-olds because they’re the only other ones who are also still single, as you watch the twenty-five-year-old newlyweds rejoice because they’ve “finally” found God’s will for them.
But, as Sarah trusted in the promise of eternal blessing, I resolve to trust in the promise of eternal blessing. It matters not what I am lacking in my life today because I know what I am not lacking. I am not lacking a single thing that I need for life and godliness. The Lord has graciously provided all I need for that, daily.
How can I complain about loneliness when I know that, even if my bed is in the depths, God is with me? How can I complain about not having enough help when the Lord has promised that the Holy Spirit will be my helper? And why would I complain about getting older when each day that passes only brings me closer to my Savior?
God gives grace. Even when He’s not dispensing husbands, He’s daily dispensing grace. He has promised that those who obey Him will see his goodness in the land of the living. And I believe it because I see it every day. Praise God for His faithfulness to this precious promise!
Next week’s profile offers another opportunity to praise God for His grace—the extraordinary story of Rahab. Dr. MacArthur encapsulates “the lesson of her life” in the following sentence: “The disturbing fact about what she once was simply magnifies the glory of divine grace, which is what made her the extraordinary woman she became.” From that lesson comes this week’s question: “How does ‘what you once were’ magnify the glory of divine grace?”
Given the personal nature of this question, we completely understand if you would like us to post your answer anonymously. Remember that all answers are due by midnight Thursday. May you rejoice in God’s grace as you read Chapter Four: “A Horrible Life Redeemed.”
You still have 7 hours, 24 minutes, and 10 seconds to send in your answer to this weeks question from chapter two:
Like Sarah, what “earthly inconvenience” are you experiencing, and how is it “mitigated by the promise of eternal blessing”?
To wrap up our “Back to School Prep” here are some great tips for making lunch a little more exciting. Actually, you don’t need to have school-age kids to appreciate these suggestions. I’m going to try them on my little boys!
—Instead of sandwiches, use pita bread, tortillas, or even Indian fry bread to make them exciting… and there are even a lot of different types of bread to work with: zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, pumpernickel bread, potato bread, etc. There is no need to stick with plain white or wheat sandwich bread.
—Make baked meat or vegetable pies (baked right before school or the night before). Or send hot soup, stew, or dip in a thermos (heat up the soup, pour boiling water in the thermos to warm it, pour the water out, then pour the hot soup in. It should still be warm at lunchtime.)
—You can jazz up fruit and veggies by cutting them up in neat shapes (you can buy special knives for slicing in zig-zags, for instance), and try new and exciting dips (why have ranch EVERY time?).
—Or you can make fish-free sushi wraps with rice and veggies with soy sauce to dip-ins (if your kids like sushi-type things. Or you can even use cut-up cooked chicken and beef in the seaweed rice wraps.) You can also provide a rice pilaf/salad with lettuce leaves or other greens for wrapping.
—And I love cold mini quiches, you can make them the night before, and it is usually easy to find mini tart shells at the stores if your kids don’t mind cold quiche.
I must say I’m a huge fan of peanut butter lunches—for the protein and simplicity of it. Here’s one idea I’ve been using since my daughter was in Kindergarten. Make a protein packed, healthy lunch and bless the teachers and your child by not adding any candy to their lunch. Then [here comes the fun part] add a special note each day, or as often as you can, to their lunch box. We’ve come up with some very fun notes over the years - “smile - it’s picture day, with a picture of a camera”, “it’s raining outside but you make my day a rainbow, with rainbow sticky notes”, etc… As they’ve grown older, I still place notes in their lunches, but with Scripture references pointing them to their Savior and notes to encourage them to seek Him during their lunch break and for the rest of their afternoon.
I SWEAR by my Pampered Chef “cut n seal”. This is the tool that makes your sandwiches “crustless”, and makes it like those “uncrustables” that you pay an arm and a leg for in the store!
—peanut butter and honey; peanut butter and bananas; peanut butter and apple butter; peanut butter in celery sticks
—wraps—instead of bread, put their favorite fixins inside a
flour tortilla, wrap up, and go!
—cookie cutter finger sandwiches. Make the sandwich first, tear off crust, and use different cookie cutters to make cute shapes. They like their initials in food, too.
—drink boxes: variety Yoo-Hoos once in while!
—One family I know did this for a week of camp, but it would work for school days as well. Call it Sunday Evening Spread. Put all the big bags of chips, and cookies on the kitchen table and fill little ziploc bags with them. Then put those bags into a big box in the pantry. Pack enough for the week, and all Mom has to do besides making or packing the sandwich or microwaveable leftovers is “grab and pack” the treats.
I love to put dried cranberries on almost all my PB&J’s; they’re best with apricot, raspberry and cherry jam! My mom likes to put marshmallow fluff on hers, as does my brother when he’s allowed to:) I personally think raspberry jam is best with this.
My mom used to use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes in our sandwich bread. She would buy lots of interesting shapes and animals and surprise us with which one would be used to magically transform our food each day of the week. She also used to include a small note of love or encouragement attached to a piece of candy. Both were great ideas and made me look forward to opening my lunch (even if it was the same type of lunch meat and candy everyday, there was still an element of surprise!)
Putting M&M’s or potato chips in a sandwich make for a nice surprise. (You would probably only want to do this once in a while) It also adds a little variety to have leftovers from last night’s supper for your lunch. It also prevents disliked leftover nights or refrigerator meals.
My mom used to hide notes in different parts of my lunch like in the inside of my thermos lid. She even went so far as hiding one in the MIDDLE of my Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. Thankfully, I noticed it after the first bite or two.
This is the best sandwich ever, I haven’t met a kid, dad, mom, sister or brother that didn’t like it. It is from my friend Debi. Two pieces white bread, strawberry jam on one side of bread with fresh sliced strawberries on top of that peanut butter on the one side of bread with roasted peanuts on the top. Put together. I have made these for bridal, baby showers even sold out of them at a street fair once. Cut them into fours for a fancier look.
It’ll be here before you know it, so how can you make your child’s first day of school extra special? Here are some super ideas…
I was homeschooled, so there really was no need for a backpack, school supplies in tow, etc. But being the industrious and excited 5 year old, I wanted all of that. So my mom got me a special backpack, supplies and lunchbox and we packed it all up the night before I started school. And then in the morning after breakfast, I took my backpack, kissed my mom goodbye and walked out the back door. About two minutes later, the front doorbell rang and there I was, saying hello to my “teacher” and siblings and ready for my first day! Silly, but fun and treasured.
I am a first grade teacher at a public school. As I was reading your post today, I thought about what would make my students happy. I find that for the little ones and big ones too, a little note of encouragement would do wonders. I am often faced with children who are missing their moms and siblings. Just reminding them that you will see them again and that they WILL go home would do wonders for them and the teachers!
I am the second oldest of six children, all of whom have been homeschooled since “the beginning.” Ever since I can remember, my parents made the first day of school special by taking all of us out to breakfast. During breakfast, they would present each of us with a small, school-related gift such as a watch or pencil set. We also did our devotions at breakfast and prayed about and discussed the plan for the school year. When we couldn’t afford to go out to breakfast, my mom would get up extra early and make a special breakfast. This is a great memory that I will always treasure!
A very fun tradition that we always looked forward to as kids was…On the first day of school, mom would make a “schoolhouse cake” which was very similar to a gingerbread house you might make at Christmas time only looked like a one room schoolhouse with bell up top and all. Eventually it evolved to being just a regular 2 dimensional cake cut out in the shape of a one-room school building. She’d use icing and graham crackers and other things to make it creative. We always looked forward to coming home and having this for dessert after dinner on that first day of school!
Each year we take a “1st day of school photo” of the girls with their dad in the exact same place—on our front steps next to a potted flower arrangement. We save the photo on our bulletin board for the school year to watch and see how much they grow and change over the year. On the last day of school, I attach their photo with an award or end-of-the-year encouragement note. We love to look back on the photos and see how much they have changed—but dad hasn’t changed much at all!)
The very first day, of our very first year of homeschool I had a “great ” idea. We would do a scavenger hunt! I made little rhyming signs with the clues on them to put at various locations. Around the house were hidden little treasures to fill their school boxes. Pencils, crayons, markers, stickers, play-doh. etc. Even a sweet or two. I had scheduled for this special morning event to take about 20 minutes; then we would start our day. Well, it took a little longer than 20 minutes, maybe 40. We finally sat down at the table to put all of these great things in the big prize, the school box!
I am not a mom yet, but here is what I remember my mom doing: The first day of school would start with what we affectionately called “the unveiling.” Every year, my mom would purchase our school supplies for us (books for the year, pencils, pens, folders, fun treats, etc). She would then put it all on the dinning room table in nice little stacks and cover it with a huge bed sheet. We would wait until everyone was dressed and ready for the day. Then we gathered around the table to remove the “veil” and discover what cool stuff we had for that year. We got a huge kick out of it.
My suggestion is that parents remember to do fun things with kids even during the school year—it wouldn’t be the worst thing for a dad to take a vacation day and for the kids to miss school for one day—so that everyone could drive to the beach. You might be in jeans and a sweatshirt instead of bathing suits, but it will be fun all the same! That way the kid’s don’t associate Summer with Fun and School year with No-Fun. One missed day of school is not going to dramatically impact your child in a negative way, but one unexpected trip with the family will be a cherished memory for years to come. And I bet dad wouldn’t mind the time off work too!
Super fun thing to do—get everyone up early & go to breakfast at Dennys, or your local coffee shop. You’re there with all the people getting ready to go to work/start their day. So why not start off the new school year with a new tradition!
I love pictures. They are little frozen moments in time. Memories preserved. I returned from vacation with 991 little memories that were just begging to be made into a slideshow. So Mike and I went to work and compiled some of the best shots for the fam to enjoy. If you would like to take a peek, click here.
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Back to School Prep, Part Two. Here are your favorite tricks for a peaceful morning routine. See if you can detect a theme here… From Julie To make my mornings flow easy, I prepare the night ahead: set up the serving tray with bowls, spoons, vitamins, juice cups etc. Set out the cereal boxes, measure the water to boil for oatmeal and cover, set out my husband’s lunch box and pack the non-perishable things (chips etc.). I find that this keeps ME much more positive the next morning and able to focus on the people instead of thinking what I need to do. From Joy Absolutely essential: get up before the kids! The other thing I do is pack my husband’s lunch right after dinner the night before. We homeschool, so I don’t pack the kids lunches. I also will frequently set the table for breakfast and also set out any non-perishables like cereal, bagels, bananas, etc. Then all we have to do is get out the milk and juice. I have little ones, so I make their sippy cups of juice or milk and have them waiting in the fridge. And last but certainly not least, I pray before everyone wakes and I turn on some quiet praise and worship music to set the tone in the house. From Cheryl The best trick for us in getting ready for a school day is preparing the night before. Lunches made, clothes ready, backpacks ready, showers done, knowing where your shoes are, etc. From Mandy After eating breakfast, my step-son usually has a few simple chores like making his bed and taking out the trash. This usually gets his blood pumping and before he leaves for the bus stop, he’s ready for the day! From Audrey My mom would always have her Quiet Time before seven o clock. At seven she would wake my brothers and I up so we all could make our bed, wash up, and get dressed. After waking us up, she would pack my dad’s lunch and make breakfast. When us kids reported downstairs at seven thirty, breakfast was ready to go. The rest of the day slid into place after breakfast was over. And, your ideas for happy carpools…. From Donette To keep us from bickering and arguing, my mom used to have us sing praise songs on the way to school. We even had a folder with the words printed up and each child took turns choosing the song we would sing next. From Kim Whether we are carpooling with one friend, four friends, or just our own gang of girls, everyday we pray on the way to school. It is a wonderful opportunity to set their hearts on honoring their Savior, respecting their authority, showing kindness to their classmates, and asking Jesus to help them with their day—whether it’s a field trip or a final exam day! From Cheryl Before every trip (carpooling) we pray for our safety and for our attitudes to be honoring to the Lord. Most of the time it’s me as the driver who needs prayer the most for my attitude. Worship music can be a blessing during our driving time. Or I’ll have the kids take turns telling me about their favorite part of the day.
“I forgot how hard it is,” I told Mom the other day—referring to the nausea of course. My doctor predicted this. “The maternal desire in women is an amazing thing,” he said. “You all endure months of sickness, severe pain in childbirth, and even suffer serious complications. Then, you turn around and do it all over again!”
Go figure. We as women all suffer from the same unique variety of amnesia. Maybe they inject something in the hospital IV that erases the pain from our memory. Or maybe it’s just one look into our baby’s eyes. Powerful stuff.
I have so much to be grateful for. I know the nausea will only last through my first trimester. And I know that “morning” sickness is a good sign. And at the end of this yuckiness, Lord-willing, is a long-awaited blessing. I’m smiling.
But being sick is hard. There’s no denying that. And it turns my thoughts to people I know who really suffer…friends and family who live with chronic pain or illness. How do they do it? I wonder. How do they joyfully live with constant pain, never knowing when it will end? Of course I know it is only by God’s abundant grace. And feeling sick myself reminds me to pray for them.
One of my all-time favorite authors, David Powlison, has recently written a wonderful primer on praying for the sick. It’s addressed to pastors, but very instructive for us all. Here are a few lines to convince you to read more:
“Sickness, like any other weakness and trouble, should force us to stop, to face ourselves, and to look for the Lord. It’s a chance to find sins we have been too busy to notice and…a chance to find a quickened need for Jesus’ mercies and a deepened delight in God.”
I’m glad for this fleeting nausea, this reminder to stop and face myself and look for the Lord. I pray God will help all those who are suffering—really suffering—to do the same.
In our first installment of “Back to School Prep” here are your creative ideas for “How to drag those half-asleep kiddos out of bed in a fun—yet effective—way.”
Pancakes and Land Sharks
I get up early (and motivate the kids to wake up early) and make them pancakes. It doesn’t have to be the difficult recipe Aunt Martha made with egg whites and berries—just batter and a skillet and a big, messy ladle. And lots of syrup (allow plenty of clean-up time following the meal).
For kids under 12, I yell “LAND SHARK,” and hurl myself onto them in bed. This also works when Dad or older siblings do it. Allow 2 minutes for fun and frolic.
Rise and Shine with Juice
My mom used to wake my sister and me up by singing “Rise and Shine.” And we would then join in. You know, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory…”
Small children’s blood sugar is low in the morning since they have not eaten in so long. A bit of apple juice first thing makes them more cheerful real quick.
The Night Before
The best advice for getting a kid out of bed is putting them to sleep at the proper time!
Reading My Girls Awake
I noticed that it was taking a lot of prompting to get some of my daughters out of bed and that I was tempted to anxiousness and anger. At the same time, I desired some read aloud time with them that I just couldn’t seem to fit in. So I decided to read my girls awake in the morning. Of course, my routine had to change to accommodate the extra time, but it was time well spent. We all benefited from starting the day off in this way. It built our relationship as we laughed and cried together over the various stories.
My only advice would be to make sure you are WIDE awake before making the attempt.
For Middle-School Boys
My step-son is twelve years old and in the 7th grade this year. He is soooo hard to wake up in the mornings. It could take about thirty minutes to get him out of bed. So, instead of us all getting frustrated, I bought him his own alarm clock. We placed it across the room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off. He can hit the snooze button one time and get back in bed, but at the next one, he’s got to get up and get in the shower. We got one of the beeping ones and had to set it to the loudest setting! He’s only slept through it once!
Coffee in Bed?
From Karen J. Low
My mom would bring me coffee in bed. Most moms now probably don’t want to get their kids hooked on coffee, but perhaps a small glass of water or OJ would work just as well.
It’s All About the “Why”
Talking to my children about the importance of getting to bed on time makes it much easier to get them up in the morning. As moms, part of our “training” of our children must include the wonderful reasons “why” we are getting up early…to have our quiet time, to start our day with the Lord, to get in the habit of “rejoicing for this is the day that the Lord has made.” All of these wonderful things can’t happen unless we are learning the discipline of getting to bed on time.
A Wake-Up Tune
My mom and dad would whistle a tune at the foot of our stairs; it was nice to wake up to their whistle every morning and we never slept through it.
I tried a new recipe this weekend – Chocolate Fudge Layered Banana Cake. Part way through making the cake I discovered I had underestimated the amount of bananas needed for 2 1/2 cups mashed plus 2 bananas, sliced. I was at Kristin’s house, babysitting my grandsons, so Andrew, Liam, Owen and I went on a little excursion to Safeway to buy more bananas. After the boys were in bed, I set out to finish the cake only to realize I had the wrong chocolate for the ganache filling. This meant no more cooking that night.
Yesterday, I headed back to the store to purchase the semisweet chocolate. Equipped with the right chocolate, I started to prepare the filling. As the heavy cream was simmering on the stove I went to get the sour cream out of the refrigerator. However, no sour cream was to be found. I had left it at Kristin’s house the night before and Kristin wasn’t home and her house was locked. I had to go back to the store for the THIRD time (or the FOURTH time if you count the initial shopping trip when I supposedly had purchased all the ingredients in the first place) to buy sour cream.
Now the cake would have been worth the trouble if it had turned out to be mouth-watering delicious. But it didn’t. I don’t think I’ll be trying any new recipes for a while. However, in moments like these, I can rejoice in the sovereignty of God. Because every trial—big or very small—is working for my good. Even recipes that flop.