Friday, June 27, 2014

Gluten Free Hot Cocoa Cup Cakes

My kids sometimes feel like they never get to have REAL food.  They see all the pretty frosted cupcakes with sprinkles and wish they too could have them.  My eldest remembers when she used to eat this kind of food all the time.  I have figured out ways to make most of the things they loved and switch it up to be gluten free and dye free.  One of my favorite findings was India Tree sprinkles.  The sprinkles are fabulous!  They are brightly colored, look like the real deal, but they are made with fruit and vegetable dyes, not toxic coal tar like the normal FD&C dyes are.  I love India Tree.  They have food coloring, sprinkles and all kinds of things. Make sure you look at their Nature's Colors line if you want it free of numbered dyes.
(They have no clue I'm endorsing them and I don't get any kick backs.  I just like them.)

My latest cupcakes I made with hot cocoa.  It was a fun experiment from start to finish, and my kids loved them.  I couldn't keep their fingers from snatching them all up!  My husband is normally  my hardest critic.  He even said these were good, which means a lot!  So give them a try!

1 c. gluten free oat flour 
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 t. zanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
3 organic eggs
1/3 c. milk (any kind)
1/2 c. honey
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c.  organic cocoa mix

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. tapioca starch
2 T. syrup (more till desired sweetness)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or line it. I use my silicon muffin shapes.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients except cocoa mix. Pour in wet ingredients except boiling water.  Mix together until well blended. It will be very thick. Boil water and dissolve 1/2 c. of organic cocoa mix.  Add it to batter.  Mix on high till it is all combined.  It will be more runny. fill cup cakes paper with 1/4 c. scoop.  It will make 1 dozen.
3. In a separate bowl using a wire whisk beat together the butter and sour cream.  Add tapioca starch 1/4 c. at a time until it's the desired consistency.  Then add syrup to make the right sweetness. 
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Then cool completely before frosting.  Then add sprinkles and enjoy.  This frosting will melt if it gets too hot.  It tastes like a cream cheese frosting.

*Another variation of this is to add yogurt instead of sour cream. 

I hope you enjoy these yummy cup cakes.  Have you tried India Tree sprinkles before? Is there a special way you color your frostings without regular food dye?  Tell us about it!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Creativity is a Must & Tooth Fairies Rock!

When you have kids you know that being creative and using your imagination is a must with kids.  No longer do you have a living room, you have a remote jungle with hide out forts.  Boxes become vehicles, dog houses, pounds and if they are big enough hide-outs.  Kids naturally have an imagination.  They like dreaming up adventures.  When they play their stuffed animals talk and anything can happen.  God made us in his image and isn't he an amazing creative God.  Look no farther than the duck-billed platypus and you can see pure creative genius at work!

I know many people disagree on having kids use their imaginations with things like tooth faries, Santa etc.  Here's how I personally feel, and you don't have to agree, if it's not taking the spot light off of God then it's okay to imagine.  In our house we don't do Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  We feel those holidays are set apart for Jesus, his birth and his resurrection. I know plenty of people who still do Santa and make sure they celebrate Jesus' birthday and the real meaning.  I'm not saying it can't be done.  I'm just saying we don't do those two characters in our home. My kids know who they are, they've even gotten pictures with them before at parties, but they don't come to our house.  We do however set traps for the Leprechaun for St. Patrick's day.  And when the kids loose teeth, a tooth fairy does pay them a visit.

My son lost his first tooth.  He's so excited.  He's growing up so fast.  Next month he'll be six and it shocks and amazes me.  His older sister helped him write a note to his tooth fairy.  They left out a piece of gum and nice little note.  He was wishing for a piece of chocolate.  This momma had NO chocolate on hand.  So after everyone was snuggled into bed I drove 30 minutes just to get that boy some chocolate.  The tooth fairy needed a little assistance, you could say. 

We use the tooth fairy as a learning tool as well. When I was a child my tooth fairy was Chiquita from the Caves of Garcia.  She wrote me letters in Spanish and gave me Pesos and gifts like castanets. My grandmother often frequented Mexico and new a little Spanish.  I would leave out tiny tea cups for my pint size friend.  We'd write letters back and forth, and I'd learn about Mexico and a little Spanish along the way.  My eldest daughter has a fairy named Aurelia who lives in the Edelweiss flowers in Switzerland.  The Sound of Music has all new meaning when you're fairy is from that land. 

So now,  it's my little boys turn.  Since he wanted chocolate, his fairy is Prince Pedro, who happens to live in a Cocoa Grove in Brazil.  His chocolate even has a wrapper, fresh from the printer, with the Brazillian flag.  His letter includes some Portuguese words and tells a little about the country Pedro is from.  I can't wait till tomorrow when he reads all Pedro has to say and we run to the map and learn even more about Brazil. 

Creativity and imagination is a must with children and it creates long lasting memories.  If my child asks me if the tooth fairy is really real, I'll tell them no, but isn't it great to imagine.  I don't say "We believe in tooth fairies," because we believe in Jesus Christ. I do allow my children to be imaginative and creative and get excited about the idea of fairies and leprechauns and myths.  I think that's perfectly okay and a great part of childhood, especially when they know the ONE TRUTH that matters.

Does the tooth fairy frequent your home? How do you feel about the tooth fairy?  What creative things does your child's tooth fairy do?  Please share!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Food Allergies

I was reading blogs today about food allergies and comments on how hard it is to go gluten free.  I started thinking back to how I felt when we first changed up our diets.  Truth is, it was hard at first.  I had to read every label.  I felt like I couldn't get a grasp on things.  No longer could I go to potlucks and let my children eat whatever they wanted.  It took more time and more effort and I had to plan ahead more.  Yet it's so worth it to see my family's health improving.

Here are some tips to help you live out going gluten free with kids.
  1. Make sure you plan ahead and bring snacks with you for the day: Instead of little fish crackers and all the carb-based foods for snacks we now take carrots, hard boiled eggs and fruit with us while out and about.  When kids are hungry I don't have to throw away our diet because I have the snacks with me and lets face it it's hard to find gluten free, dye free healthy snacks at the local gas station.
  2. Have your whole family do the change together:
    We all went gluten free together so no one is tempted to eat something they're not supposed to. I personally don't have the same reactions to gluten as my husband and kids do, but I know it's beneficial so I do it with them. There are times when this doesn't work.  My youngest has more dietary needs than anyone else in our home.  She shows significant behavior problems with foods that mimic acetylsalicylic acid.  These include real fruits and vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, strawberries and legumes.  In our house we still let the other kids have strawberries and cucumbers.  She knows she can't eat strawberries.  So when I have a case of strawberries in the fridge I make sure I also have a case of blueberries so that she can easily pick out a yummy fruit snack too.  She also can't do cucumbers, so when we everyone else has cucumbers I cut up zuchini the same way and she eats it.  It looks very similar, but she's not having the thing that will case her a behavior explosion.
  3. Bring your own food and switch out the things you can't have:
    If my kids are going to a birthday party I find out before hand what kind of foods they are having, what kind of cake or treats.  I then make my child their own gluten free, dye free version to take with them.  Recently we did a Bible club where snacks and treats were given out daily.  I made sure to have things my kids could eat.  I saw that all the prizes being given out were candy related.  So I went to the dollar section of a local store and bought some pencils and bubbles and things and gave them to the club leaders and asked if they could give those out as prizes too.  The prizes were not just for my kids, but that way my kids had a choice of something other than the candy they couldn't eat.  There are times when they've been given candy or things they can't eat and they bring them home, we put it in a bag on top of the fridge and when we fill the bag we trade it in for a fun day.  We've traded it in for bowling or arcade games before.  It's our way of helping our kids to not feel like they are left out. There are dye free candies my kids can have, so we also have traded it out for the non-toxic kind.
  4. Do one recipe at a time:
    Don't overwhelm yourself with all the things you have to change.  Go easy do a meat, veggie and potato.  Throw out the casseroles for a while till you figure out how to switch out the ingredients for the allergy free version.  We have found that when we baking we like to use gluten free oat flour with coconut flour and tapioca starch to replace the flour it calls for.  
  5. Use the Web for recipes:Years ago there were not tons of resources at your fingertips.  Today you can find allergy friendly recipes all over the web.  Use your resources and try out recipes.  Have fun with it.  Do a bake off and have your family pick their favorites.  If you're brave like me, make up your own recipes and pray they turn out and you didn't just waste a bunch of ingredients. 
  6. Make if FUN: Don't stress too much.  Have fun with all these new food options. If you make it more enjoyable it won't seem like such a burden and remember you are helping your child! The way you present it to your kids will also help them to take to it better.  Platters with fruits and veggies, or making a face on their plate with these new foods can make it more presentable and fun for the kids too.
Check out what another mom has to say about food allergies at Wellness Mama. She has some great links and ideas over there. What things have you done to make the transition smooth for your children when you're eliminating foods they love?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 Day Clubs

This week we've been hosting a 5-Day Club at the playground of our apartments.  I have never hosted one before and did not really know anything about Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF).  I was thinking about the kids that live in the complex and I wanted to do some kind of VBS.  After talking with my pastor's wife, I learned that CEF trains teens to go around locally and do 5-Day Clubs or Sidewalk clubs during the summer to teach children about Christ.  I was very excited!

CEF made it very easy for me.  All I had to do was pick the week and the time of day I wanted to have it along with the location.  They then sent me invitations to pass out in my neighborhood with all the information already printed on them.  The day it started a CEF leader arrived 30 minutes before hand to set up.  All I had to provide was water and pop-sickles, everything else was already planned.

I have to say I'm quite impressed.  Four teenage boys (13-19 years old) come daily to lead 5-Day Club.  They have songs, missionary stories, gospel lessons, and games all ready.  We sit by the park on a sheet and they keep the kids all actively involved for 90 minutes. The team brings things like parachutes and other equipment for games and everything is planned great. The Gospel is presented daily, scripture is memorized daily and an invitation to know Christ is given daily.  This has been such a neat experience.  I look forward to my kids becoming teens so they too can join CEF and lead groups of children to the LORD. It's pretty amazing to see teen boys so dedicated to the LORD and to spreading the Gospel.  The boys that come out to our group just happen to all be home-schooled too.

If you want to impact your community this is an easy, yet life changing way to do it.  It opens doors for you to get to know your neighbors and to disciple them as they learn about Christ.  I'm excited to see how Christ uses this in my community.  Each child that comes has a family, won't it be amazing to see families changed for Christ!

God calls us, commands us really to go and make disciples of all nations.  How can we do that if we never reach out and teach anyone about Christ, and his Gospel message of salvation?  This is a great way to get your family involved in following the Great Commission. If you want to host a 5-Day Club in your area, or to learn more click here.

 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:19-20

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peace of God

My quiet time with God was about walking by Faith and receiving God's Peace.  His peace is unlike the world's peace. It is not understandable, the circumstance doesn't change but HIS peace comes in and gives strength and endurance, despite the circumstance. As I read the scriptures the thought crossed my mind, "Okay God, what am I going to face today that I need to hold on to this verse and remember that YOUR peace is here to protect my heart and my mind?"  As my mind wondering I declared, "Well I'll keep walking by Faith no matter what and I know His Peace will be there for me."

The day was full of visits and play dates. The second day of our 5-Day Club was a great success. The child I mentioned yesterday was back and even had John 3:16 committed to memory.  Isn't that awesome! We were going through our day enjoying things.  We were busy but not rushed, not anxious, just peaceful. Then on the way to our chiro appointment my best friend called and sounded upset.  She had to leave for the ER and needed help with the boys. So I turned around and headed for her house. "God give her peace. Protect her heart and mind. God give me peace," I silently prayed.

 The stage four breast cancer has left a large open wound on her breast.  The wound care person who comes to her home realized today things were not right.  Doctors orders: she was go into the ER for  surgery. I pray for God's peace over her and her husband.  Peace abound in her three small children.  God's great peace, peace that passes all understanding. Late in the evening after being at the ER for 7 hours she was informed that they decided not to do surgery and they sent her home.  While all of this seems to be so crazy and confusing and chaotic, God is still in control and HIS peace is over her.

Please join me in praying for my dear friend. If you would like to reach out in someway there is a T-shirt fundraiser going on to help my dear friend and her family during this difficult time. You can find out more by following the link, or you can always make a donation at any Wells Fargo for the Danielle Pint Foundation.

Remember that no matter what you face today God's peace is available to you.  May you find rest in his arms.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
 Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

By Faith

Yesterday I awoke early and read the Bible. I was in Hebrews 11 going through all the people who lived by faith. As I closed my Kindle Bible I thought "Lord help me live by faith today."  I was also in prayer for the 5-day club l was hosting at my apartment playground.  I desperately wanted it to go well. I wanted all the people I invited to come out.  I wanted to see kids' hearts reached for Christ.  As my mind would wander over the things I hoped for, I felt God's voice calling out to me, "Walk by faith."

Dark clouds started rolling across the sky. The weather was predicting strong thunderstorms. I started thinking about the teens from Child Evangelism Fellowship that would be coming to lead this club and all the potential children that would be coming to learn the Good News. What would we do in a thunderstorm at a playground—besides get soaked?  Again God spoke saying, "Walk by Faith. By Faith prepare, do your part, I'll do MINE."

The kids and I cleaned up our apartment in case rain brought everyone inside. We then raced to the nearest store for posterboard and made signs saying "Rain or Shine" our club would go on. We covered the neighborhood with where to go if the rain hit us. All the while I kept saying, "Okay God, in faith we're still preparing. I'm doing my part so I trust you will prepare their hearts and control the weather." 

It's just like our amazing God to change the weather! Though the forecast said one thing HE said another. The bad weather never hit us! The sunshine came out and our first day of hosting 5 Day Club was a success. Seven kids sat in attendance and 1 of those seven does not know much about Christ, but was eager to learn! Praise God! He kept the storm at bay and prepared hearts just as I heard him say he would. I didn't allow panic to overrule.  I didn't turn back and say, "no, let's cancel, the weather looks bad." I chose to walk by faith and trust God to work out the details. And you know what? After club was over that 1 child asked to come play with my kids...and my house just so happened to be cleaned up enough that I could say "Sure, come on over."

What is God calling you to do by faith today?

 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Monday, June 16, 2014

Best Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins EVER!

This Father's Day I decided to make gluten free blueberry muffins, eggs and turkey bacon for my husband's feast. I love blueberry muffins!  I especially love the ones with the crumble topping that makes it extra tasty.  So I made this recipe up this morning.  It's gluten free of course, and it was a BIG hit.  Not one of the dozen muffins was left behind.  We devoured them.  These are by far the best gluten free blueberry muffins ever! I hope you will think so too!

1 c. gluten free oat flour 
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 t. zanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1/3 c. oil (I used olive)
2 organic eggs
1/3 c. milk (any kind)
1 c. honey
1c. blueberries
1/2 c. raw sugar
1/3 c. gluten free oat flour
1/4 c. butter cubed
1 1/2 t. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or line it. I love my silicon muffin holders!
2. Combine all the dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and mix together until well blended. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups with the mixture.
3. In a separate bowl mix together topping ingredients with a fork, or with your hands. Sprinkle or lay it on top of the muffin batter.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Then cool and ENJOY

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Growing up I didn't see much of my father.  I lived in a different state most of my life and received the occasional cards.  As a child, I thought my father was some kind of amazing hero and one day he'd come rescue me. I imagined I'd live with him and life would be perfect.  Well, that was not the case.  Even if I had gone to live with him I know now that life would have been far from perfect.  I wanted a father that would: dote on me, tell me how precious I was to him, protect me and lead me and challenge me.  I later found that father in Jesus Christ.  The father I always wanted but my dad did not have the ability to be.

When I met my husband and we married I understood more through him about the love of  Christ and the bride.  I understood more of the Bible and the verses about a bride and bridegroom through my relationship with my husband.  Now, watching him as a father to our children I can understand Father God more. I see the Father through out the Bible and the way HE longs to be there for HIS children. The way HE longs for them to do right and the way HE, at times, has to step back and allow us to make mistakes.

 My husband is the kind of father who wants to come home and play with his kids. He doesn't spend time shooing them away to watch tv or spend time with sports. As a matter of fact we don't own a t.v and he's not really a sports nut. Just as our heavenly father,  he doesn't say send the children away, he says bring them to me. He comes home from a long day at the office and he's surrounded with arms to hug him and welcome him home in unison. He spends time with us as we pray, eat and talk together.  He then ends up on the living room floor with three kids climbing on him.  He's the scary bear, or the pony ride. He's great at getting them giggling and making up stories.

I love watching my husband rejoice in his children.  He laughs with them.  He gets excited about what they are learning and doing. They bring him joy.  Like the heavenly father,  he rejoices in their joy and desires to see them happy with good gifts. 

My husband works hard to earn a living to support us. He works hard so we can pay all our bills without me needing to leave home and our children to work. He has a plan and desire for their lives and upbringing, just as God has a plan and desire for us. 

When our children do wrong, he wants to lead them to do right.  He wants to show them the error of their ways and set them on the right path.   He turns them to Christ and shows them how to do better.  He leads by example just as Jesus did for us.

He is a protector to them.  Whether he's protecting them for the invisible monster, praying with them against fears or holding them close to protect them from real danger, he does it without pause or delay.  From addressing fears to addressing modesty and all the things in between he sees ahead to the possible outcomes and protects them by leading them in a way that protects their souls. I know he can't always be there to protect them, but Christ can.  They both desire the best for my children and I can not trust anyone more.

I think my husband is a pretty amazing father.  I see many attributes of our heavenly father in him.  As he leads us he looks to the LORD.  This Father's Day I want to honor my husband for the amazing man he is and the way he leads.  Don't forget to acknowledge the father's in your life today and let them know the ways they point you back to the true Father.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 
1 John 3:1

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie

We love sweet potato pie.  Having a larger family we make enough that we can all enjoy it and it lasts more than 1 serving. I tried many recipes before coming up with this mixture. Sometimes it's hard to find a grain free or gluten free recipe for pies.  This one is a hit!  It's based off of The Gluten Free Goddess. It is perfect.  There is no real crust but once cooled it is formed enough that a crust doesn't matter, yet soft enough to melt in your mouth. I use a kitchen aid mixer and I use the whisk attachment.  My kids like to eat it as bars for breakfast.  It's delicious and good for you, can you believe it!

Pans before baking
4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 c. raw honey
1/2 cup GF buckwheat flour
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons light olive oil
4 organic eggs
2 cup milk of your choice
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil a 9-inch glass pie plate and 1 round pan. 
Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until the filling is smooth and creamy. Make sure all dry ingredients are incorporated.
Pour into the prepared pie plates and smooth evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until done. Then let it cool completely.  We eat it warm or chilled.  My kids like it both ways.  I prefer it after it's sat in the fridge and is nice and cool, with whipped cream on top.  

2 c. Organic heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. honey
Whip it with the whisk attachment on high until it forms nice peaks.  Not too long or you'll have butter.

Hope you enjoy this delicious gluten free-refined sugar free treat. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Have to Share: Summer Freebies!

As you know we LOVE All About Reading.  It has been an amazing program.  My son will be six next month.  He's just finished level 2 of All About Reading.  Basically,  it works!  He's reading at a 2nd grade level.  He loves the activities and looks forward to it each day.  This morning to my delight I woke up to him reading his Bible Study book by himself and answering the questions.  In those moments my heart delights that he can read the Bible, he can learn more about God and the world around him because he has learned a very important skill. All About Reading has played a very important part in this. 

I'm sharing their latest here.  Please check it out.  Enjoy the free summer fun from my favorite reading curriculum!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Young at Heart: Swings Anyone

Summer is in the air.  I realize the exact date of summer hasn't hit us on the calendar, but summer is still in the air.  I can tell as my kids fill water balloons and soak our porch, sporting bathing suits.  The days get hot quicker and the nights are filled with thunderstorms cooling off the humid air.  It's summer to me and in summer it's easier for me to abandon my to-do-lists and be young at heart.

I still haven't finished all the school books I wanted to get done for the year, but that's okay.  I'm sure we can catch up on rainy days or when it's too hot to go outside.  So for now I'm going to lay those things aside and enjoy.

Enjoy is a verb.  It's an action word. It's doing something that brings you joy or cheer.  When you do something it effects your whole body.  The smile spreads. Others are touched.  It makes your heart cheerful, and a cheerful heart is a good thing!

 So for this day of being young at heart, finding joy I take on the swings. Remember being kids and swinging up so high that you can feel like you're flying.  I did that plenty of times, but my all time favorite as a kids was to have someone twist me up in the swing and then push it high and let it unwind with me enjoying the ride of a lifetime.  I decided I needed to teach my kiddos there was more to swings than gliding through the air; there is also spinning like a helicopter at top speed.  So I twisted myself up, belly on the swing,  arms open wide, feet tucked under for optimal speed, explaining this was THE way to really ride on a swing.  I took off!  What a ride!  I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time.  My kids were all amazed and laughed too, as did the on-looking park children.  I then stepped aside, in my dizzy state, and watched as the kids took turns trying the amazing feat they just witnessed.  What delight, and cheer was spread on the playground. 

As you look at your summer days, take time out to do the simple things again.  The local park is full of opportunities for fun and laughter, even for you, the Grown Up. May you have a cheerful heart today!

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 
Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Young at Heart: Simple Joys

With the second round of visitors we enjoyed celebrating my dear mother-in-laws birthday.  A day to really enjoy being young at heart.  We celebrated by taking a picnic out to the lake.  While sitting in the shade of a large tree looking out at the water I learned,with my children, how to braid clovers.  Though she hadn't made clover bracelets or hair wreaths in years, she lacked no skill.

We spent our time in the cool of the shade, lost in braiding clover bracelets, while my man and boy threw rocks and nuts into the lake.  Refreshing it is, to be young at heart.  To abandon the must-dos and instead rest and enjoy and be.

It was a day filled with laughter, games, ice cream cake and simple joys.  I like the way it feels to ENJOY.  No electronic noise filling the air, the gentle rustle of the leaves, the ker-plop of the rocks sinking in the lake. The joyful chatter. Feeling the grass on your legs and viewing the beauty of the creation God gave us. What a gift it is and yet how often I miss it. 

While focusing on being young at heart, let's focus on the simple joys.  Take time today to bask in the sun or to jump in puddles.  Relax in the shade of a tree and try your hand at braiding flower stems while telling enchanting tales to your little ones. May you ENJOY your day.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Young at Heart

We've had a lot of visitors lately.  Mostly grandparents coming in for short stays here and there.
Memorial weekend we had the honor of my father in law and his wife visiting.  Grilling in true American style at the local park consumed our day.  I watched as my sixty-something year-old father-in-law climbed up a giant old steel slide and with both hands in the air slid down.  At the bottom he tumbled over in the pile of pebbles.  We were all full of laughter at his antics.  What makes a grown man want to slide down a slide at the park again?  Besides the pleas of little grandchildren calling him to play, it's because he's young at heart.

When Christ called us to be like little children I think he was also calling us to be more joyful. How often do we adults miss out on the fun of the day, the amazing things our creator has done—simply because we are too busy with our to-do list.  When we take time to stop and look at things through the eyes of a child and get excited with them, we have a chance to change our outlook and have joy.  I know it's hard.  Just today I rushed my kids to the car, rushed to get buckled, hurry, scurry, rush, brushing aside their stories, their ponders, their desires to pick me flowers, just to get to the local store quickly for some milk and rush right back home. Why? There was no emergency. Why not just enjoy?

Before becoming a mom I thought I'd cherish every dandelion I was given.  I thought I'd listen intently to every tale that was shared.  Now, as a mom of 3 living a busy life, the running and doing often gets in the way of joy. The reality is there are too many things I must do and my mind runs faster than my feet can keep up.  I want to be young at heart, to enjoy the blessings that abound around me.  I want to take on the slides and the swings with abandonment—to cup their little faces as they hand me the 6 hundredth dandelion and say, "Oh thank you, it's beautiful," and mean it. 

Will you join me? Will you stop rushing and hushing the kids and enjoy them?  Lift your voice and sing with them.  Raise your hands and enjoy that fast slide.  Be young at heart.

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mathew 18:3