Christian Home · Family

How To Serve Others

For many years, I served in the children’s ministry because in having four children of my own, I “knew” children — it was something I could do easily.  However, as time went on, because again, I DO have four children of my own, I came to resent the Sundays where I knew I had to go in and serve in the nursery or classroom.  My church “time” was and still is, time where I can connect with God, get rejuvenated for the week ahead and have some quiet time understanding God’s word.  When I served in the nursery or classroom, this rejuvenation was being stripped of me.

I turned in my notice to the church and let them know that this was no longer for me at this stage of my life as my “heart” just wasn’t in it anymore.  And then I did nothing.  I didn’t serve.  But as God instructs us in the bible, we are to serve others and that nagging sensation came back in which I knew I wanted to do “something” to help others.

What does the bible say about serving others?

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Proverbs 11:25:  Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

1 Peter 4:10:  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

My family belongs to a “big” church and by “big”, we’re talking about 3,000 attendees to our main location each Sunday.  This does not include two off-site locations that are growing at leaps and bounds as well.  So as you can imagine with a big church, there are many families or persons in need when times arise — both good and bad.  Surgeries, birth of a baby, death of a spouse, etc.  In these times, the church likes to help out in easing the burden of fixing meals and they have a team of women that they reach out to fix a meal when a need arises.  I found a way to serve. This is something that I usually do about twice a month on average and it’s something that I can do from the comfort of my home — cook.  It takes usually less than 30 minutes to drive to the home, drop the meal off and offer a few words of encouragement or simply introduce myself and see if there’s anything else they need.  Better yet, I usually take one of my children with me so that they too can have compassion for other people instilled in them by watching me serve as their example.

I know that for some of you reading this blog entry, you don’t have a church home and maybe have no interest in doing so, but you don’t have to in order to serve others.  I had a good friend who has three children and was horribly sick over this past Thanksgiving holiday.  A neighbor and I split up a Thanksgiving menu, went in together on a turkey, and then both our families carried a full meal down to their home so that they could still enjoy the holiday without the stress and my friend could stay in the comfort of her bed knowing that her family was still enjoying a meal and time spent together. I was already cooking for my family and so cooking the additional food wasn’t an extra burden — it took very little extra time but yet  the gesture went so far!  And again, our children were so excited about being able to care for someone in need, that we all agreed that we would seek out another family in need of a Thanksgiving meal this coming holiday.

I believe that there are so many opportunities to serve others in our daily lives with just small gestures of kindness.  Cooking for me, is a simple act.  For others, it may be going to a nursing home and spending time or simply mowing the lawn of the older person that lives next to you.  LOOK for things to do and you’ll be amazed at how both you and the person you are serving are blessed!

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Family

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

braceletGrandma’s Bracelet

The definition of nostalgic is a bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past or the condition of being homesick; homesickness.  This bracelet was my grandmother’s and when she passed away, I was able to keep it.  It has a charm for each of her four sons, as well as her grandchildren.  The second to the right charm, the head, that’s me.

And oh how I miss my grandmother horribly.  I remember running down the alley to her home when I was a kid.  Spending countless hours sitting around her kitchen table as she cooked.  She was a second mom to me.  I can still remember to this day, how she smelled.  She passed away 6-1/2 years ago while I was pregnant with my daughter, Isabella.  And I think she passed away and passed on to Isabella her personality — she’s fiesty and sassy, just like my grandmother was.  There are certain days I want to scream and then there are certain days, I smile, seeing this trait in my daughter.

Family · Recipes · The Kids

How about S’More?!

Caden_FireI went to a girl scout leader meeting about a month ago and they had a S’More Bar (best thing ever!) in lieu of desserts and I was in awe — what a great idea!  They also had a take-home handout which listed all the different types of s’mores that you can make and so below are all those yummy combinations but unfortunately, I cannot take credit for creating these — although I hope to take the credit for trying all of them this summer!

I had never even imagined anything outside of the good ol’ backyard fire s’more but sure enough, ready for the challenge, I made a few that night at the meeting and OMGoodness, were they good!  If you are like our family and are willing to fire up the logs in the backyard just for the purpose of making s’mores (this is Caden in the picture, our lover in the family of all things S’More) or, if you have a camping trip planned this summer, make sure to bring along a few more goodies than normal!

Do these not sound absolutely delicious!?

Elvis S’More
Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Banana Slices & Peanut Butter

Cinnamon Toast S’More
Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow & White Chocolate

Mint Chocolate S’More
Chocolate Wafers, Toasted Marshmallow and a Peppermint Patty

Caramel Apple S’More
Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Apple Slices & a Caramel-Filled Chocolate

Nutty Banana S’More
Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Reese’s Cup & Sliced Banana

Strawberry & Chocolate S’More
Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Slices

Cinnamon & Caramel S’More
Cinnamon Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Caramel-Filled Chocolate

Padding Bear S’More
Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Orange Marmalade & Dark Chocolate

Strawberries & Coconut S’More
Graham Crackers, Toasted Marshmallow, Strawberries & White Chocolate

PB&J S’More
Graham Crackers, Strawberry Toasted Marshmallow, Peanut Butter & Strawberries

 

Christian Home · Family

Memories of Vacation Bible School

This morning I dropped my offspring off at Vacation Bible School, or VBS as it’s more commonly called nowadays.  It brings back such memories of when I was a little girl, walking to the local church in our neighborhood.  We grew up in one of Indiana’s “small towns” and so in that day, you could pretty much walk anywhere and be and feel safe.

When I went, I can remember us doing the bible drills, where the class would sit in a group with our bibles closed and the leaders would  yell out a verse and then we would flip through our bible to see who could jump up and start reading it aloud first.  I remember making leather wallets and playing dodge ball out in the parking lot.  Nowadays, wow, things have changed and it’s much more “high energy” and they really get the kids to interact with the morning activities and learning about God.  I go to drop them off yesterday at the church where I had to “drive” them to and we come in to a big gymnasium, divided by flag color and the music is blaring and all the kids are hyped up!  They still have all the activities planned and each kiddo came home with some cute little craft, that has ended up in the bottom of my purse tote bag.

Yesterday the kids had to wear a specific “color” of shirt so that their first day was more of a “I’m in a group” day.  Today — crazy hair day.  Last night, a 10:13 precisely, we pile into the truck and head to the local Wal-Mart because yours truly, forgot to stop and get hair paint before baseball last night.  I would have loved to come home, wash the dirt and grime off me from the baseball fields, but no, the kiddos would not leave me alone or let the idea go,  and so above their moans and groans, I grabbed the keys and said “come on, let’s go!”  Glad I did because I was able to grab this shot below — bunny ears and all.  Tomorrow is backwards day, Thursday is crazy hat day (where to find those?), and Friday, back to wearing a specific color.

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I absolutely love the idea of VBS — learning about God, being with your friends, and time away from the daily routine of summer, which let’s face it, we all know the kiddos get bored.  Did I mention that I’ve signed up for two more in July!?!

Family · The Kids

Father’s Day HUGE card!

Because Mother’s Day falls during the school year, I am always the bearer of cute gifts made in the classroom.  Dad’s out there tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to homemade crafts for Father’s Day because it falls after the school year is out for the summer unfortunately and so this leaves us moms to our own devices!  I searched the internet high and low for something that the kiddos can make Kevin (aka Dad) for Father’s Day. But a few days ago, lo and behold, an email was delivered right to my inbox of a very creative card to make!

I follow a blog called Sidetracked Sarah over here and she wrote a post about a “candy” card that she and her kiddos made for their father.  I had to copy follow her idea as I knew it was perfect for hubby as he has a huge sweet tooth and I knew it was simply enough that all my children, ages 3-10, could participate in.

It calls for get this, 21 candy bars!  We headed out to the local Wal-Mart with our list, where the kiddos decided to be on the worst best behavior, and we ended up having to substitute a few candy bars for others we found but we managed to get 90% of them.  Some were king size, some were normal, others were in the “candy” aisle instead of up by the checkout and so we spent a little bit of time gathering everything. Isabella decided on the bright lime green board because it was “bright”!  When we checked out, I think the older lady was wondering what the heck was going on, because of course, in buying all this candy, we each then had to pick up one for ourselves to have a treat in the car!  But she never asked and she continued to scan the candy without missing a beat.

I printed all the words out in big type and we merely taped on each of the candy bars. We weren’t able to make ALL the  candy bars fit and so we had to just eat the few that didn’t make it — you know, to hide the evidence from dad that anything was being made!

Here’s the end result!  We were so happy with it and the kids were so excited to give it to him!

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Here’s how Sidetracked Sarah instructed us to do it:

Dear Daddy, We were going to get you a Whopping (Whoppers) (100 Grand) for Father’s Day, but the money slipped through our (Butterfingers).  We had (Zero) (Extra) (Whatchamakalits) to sell and it was not (Payday).  We thought about taking you to get a ([kit]Kat) or out for (Hot Talmales), but we know you would not like that.  We did not think an (Orbit) around the (Milky Way) or a trip to New (York) would work, so (Crunch) this card as we wish you (Mounds) of ([Almond] Joy).  We hope you don’t (Rolo)ver and get sick.  If you do, we will try not to (Snicker).   You are  a (Lifesaver).  We (Skor)ed getting you for a dad.  We love you to ([Reese’s] Pieces). Love,

Your (Nerds).

Here’s a list of the candy, just in case you want to copy this exactly:

  • Whoppers
  • 100 Grand
  • Butterfinger
  • Zero
  • Extra Gum
  • Whatchamakalit
  • Payday
  • Kit Kat
  • Hot Tamales
  • Orbit
  • Milky Way
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Crunch
  • Mounds
  • Almond Joy
  • Rolos
  • Snickers
  • Lifesavers
  • Skor
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Nerds

I think this card could be made into almost any occasion to use it for a gift — who doesn’t love receiving candy!  Have fun!

Meal Plan

Meal Planning Monday

I’ve been wanting to meal plan for a long-time now and have given it a go a couple of times before but failed miserably after the first week or so.

This time though, I set myself up for success; found an excel spreadsheet, customized it for the month complete with dates, etc and went grocery shopping the weekend before the meal plan begin. In our home, we do the majority of grocery shopping all in one trip for the whole month and then make “mini” weekly trips to either the farmer’s market or the grocery for the fresh lettuce, fruit, etc. that I may need.  It took me a good week almost to get this meal plan down, revising, going over schedules, etc. and finally finished it and so I’m posting the second week now and will continue to post weekly, hoping this will motivate me to stick with it!

Now, keeping a few things in mind, my hubby works the night shift on Monday and Tuesday each week and so I made those more “kid-friendly” meal days and then my 2 boys have football conditioning on Tues and Thurs nights as well and so we are gone for two hours.

Week of July 9th:

Monday:  Spaghetti with bread and salad (I use frozen ground turkey instead of beef)

Tuesday:  Lil’ Ceasers pizza and breadsticks  ($5 pizzas on payday…can’t resist)

Wednesday:  Pork with Marinade; grilled corn; green beans

Thursday:  Joel’s Grilled Marinated Chicken; baked beans; salad

Friday:  Crockpot Meatloaf;  Rice; Broccoli

Saturday:  Chicken Tetrazzini;  Rolls;  Green beans

Sunday:  Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Rolls

I will say that I planned meals for the month and did NOT go over budget for this month’s trip and so I was pleasantly surprised and motivated by this fact!  I did use coupons too but did not go out of my way to match coupons up with sales, etc. and did not “extreme” coupon although it would be nice to get to that  point one day.  Stay tuned for next week’s menu and I’ll let you know how this week went.