Checking In

Since having the stomach flu here, we have been very off our normal routine. My husband was off all last week, so school had a break. :) A sort of unplanned Spring Break. It was great, but I am also happy to be back on a routine this week. Call me crazy, but I love knowing exactly how our day will go (well, how it SHOULD go)!

This past weekend, I did our lesson plans a completely new way. It made me both very nervous and excited at the same time. I have been reading and researching and pouring over articles and books about the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. I have been envious of moms that have pulled it off. I have longed for the schedules I read about. I have just been so drawn to it, yet I was so afraid of it.

Why?

Because it is a LOT less of a rigid lesson plan than I am used to. It is pretty much NO WORKSHEETS. It is A LOT more books. More reading aloud. More group time.

All those things require MORE PATIENCE…than I have had this school year.

But, I prayed about it and found a peace in planning out lessons using this new method. Saturday and Sunday I spent planning and planning and planning all these fun new things. On Saturday, the kids and I went to the library so I could check out the 30 books I wanted to incorporate (ok, not 30….it was about 22, I believe) into the lessons and learning.

I picked Five Little Peppers and How They Grew as our first read aloud book. I had never read it, never heard of it. I wasn’t sure how the kids would like it.

BUT THEY LOVE IT! I have never had all the kids begging for more chapters when it is time to stop reading. I have never been so excited about a storyline. :) And it suits every age of my kids. Even Ethan, two years old, pretends to be some of the kids in the book while he is playing.

I will post more on how I am planning it all out, but new things for the kiddos include: Spanish lessons (!!), poetry, a nature study, art study (like of actual artists – this is NOT my strength), and music study (this IS my strength; we are studying Bach….I’m in heaven, really, because I am learning a lot as well!). We are doing MORE hands-on things like making boats out of soap bars and studying and drawing plants that are native to our area.

So all this new stuff in our schoolwork has kept me away from the blog. I am ok with that. It will just take some getting used to, in figuring out how to get back to regular posts. I also picked up my Melaleuca work and crochet work, so that has occupied some of my afternoon time as well.

And now it is time to start getting the kids ready for bed! Where does the time go?! :)

Our Week

I had big plans for homeschool this week. I am slowly switching over to more of a Charlotte Mason method, and this week was supposed to be our first week of introducing all the memory work (Scripture, poetry, and a hymn). My expectations we probably a bit too high, but something else completely shattered my goals….

The stomach flu.

We had a touch of something two weeks ago, but only Iris ended up ill. It was the strangest illness, too. She would be fine all day then vomit at night. That made for some VERY long nights! It lasted for two nights, and then she was back to normal. Everything was cleaned and disinfected, and I thought that was it.

Until this week…

We were at church Sunday and saw a ton of friends. I joked with Arthur that we were all finally healthy at the same time and able to be at church. I hadn’t seen some of those friends since the New Year.

Well, I think we visited a little too much on Sunday and one of us (or several of us) brought home some germs. :( Tuesday morning, while I was in the shower, the girls came running in to tell me Ethan was throwing up. I would have been a little more casual with my response, except that they informed it was A LOT and ALL ON THE CARPET. Yuck!! Barely covered, I ran into his room to watch him spew, like a hose, all over the carpet for a second time. And like any two-year old, he decided to put his hands up to his mouth in an effort to wipe away the vomit as it was coming out.

So delightful.

We managed to get him bathed and the floor mostly cleaned up. I brought him into my bathroom to sit, so I could finally put some clothes on. (On the plus side, I did find that I have the unique skill of bathing a child and cleaning up banana chunks in the carpet without my bath towel falling off! Who knew?!) When I sat down to use the bathroom, Ethan’s belly decided to unload again all over his freshly bathed body and clean clothes. I was a little happy he was at least on the vinyl floor this time.

After two baths in ten minutes, I thought he was ok. But he repeated the process two more times. Thankfully, he understood not touching his face and to aim for the large bowl I was holding in front of him. I must have done six loads of laundry that day…all vomit related!

He couldn’t keep anything down that day, except our homemade kefir. He normally does not like to drink it by itself, but after not having anything to drink for several hours he was a big fan of it!

The next day, I thought he was doing ok but after drinking a little plain water, he threw up again, Back to square one! After talking with a nurse at the pediatrician’s office and politely disagreeing with her Pedialyte recommendation (I explained my kids don’t drink sugary drinks normally when they are healthy, especially ones with artificial coloring, so I didn’t want to give him that while sick because he would not have kept it down. She advised me to water it down and try it. I told her he was keeping down the water kefir and we would continue that. She was nice, but I was disappointed. And she wasn’t our doctor’s nurse but just returning calls for them that day.) She did let me know that regular, plain water is no good for vomiting, as it doesn’t have the right pH for the body and it can cause more vomiting. I had not heard that but it makes perfect sense now seeing how Ethan’s belly couldn’t handle it!

I went online to look for a homemade electrolyte replacement drink because I knew the water kefir had good bacteria for his belly but not the salt and sugars he needed to stay hydrated.

What do you know, the World Health Organization had a recipe! :) I combined their recipe with another I found to help stop vomiting (which included my mom’s faithful apple cider vinegar concoction!). Here is what we used to help Ethan stop throwing up and to keep him hydrated:

8 ounces water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar organic, unfiltered, and with The Mother in it)

1 TBSP sugar (i used cane)

a pinch of salt

I warmed the water slightly to dissolve the sugar. Ethan loved it! The sugar helped hide the bitter ACV flavor, and the salt/sugar combo really helped him bounce back energy-wise. I gave him one ounce, waited fifteen minutes then gave another ounce. I continued until the 8 ounces was gone.

Wednesday night Lily came down with it. I started her right away on the electrolyte drink. She also had slight diarrhea, so I knew that drink would be best for the vomit-diarrhea combo. She followed the same pattern as Ethan, as far as throwing up.

Yesterday morning, Arthur and I were both scanning the internet for  easy to help the rest of us avoid getting it, or at least shortening the duration and/or strength of the illness. We came across two things that I immediately went to the health food store to buy: activated charcoal and bentonite clay. I knew of both prior to this week, but I assumed my husband would never try either. :) I think he was just desperate enough to try them!

Both the charcoal and the clay work in similar ways. Activated charcoal adsorbs toxins and carries them out of the body. Clay does the same, but you can use clay in different ways to do this.

Arthur and I both took a charcoal capsule right away. Then we opened up a couple and dissolved half in each kid’s cup of the electrolyte drink. It might have actually taken away from the acv drink’s effectiveness, but we were trying to mask any nasty charcoal flavor. The kids seemed to like it, and happily drank it all. We did not give any to Ethan, as we couldn’t find any good info on giving it to two-year olds, except for in the event of an accidental poisoning (but then they advise like 30x an adult’s regular dosage).

I gave Lily a clay bath to help draw out whatever toxins she had going on. She said it was super relaxing, and she stayed in for about 15 minutes. (The key to clay baths is that is can dehydrate, so I made sure she keep drinking the electrolyte drink.) She seemed fine the rest of the day, but she slept for two and half hours mid-day. Then she played Yahtzee with Iris and me. She still has a crampy stomach today, but I think some of it because her stomach is so empty.

Ethan threw up again right before dinner yesterday, then started in with the diarrhea. He seemed fine after vomiting that one time, so I am not sure that it was anything more than running around too much while his stomach was upset. Unfortunately, it was on the carpet again in his room! I went through so much baking soda this week, cleaning carpets and deodorizing them! Thankfully, I don’t think it will stain and the smell is mostly gone now.

So I am liking what we have experienced with the activated charcoal – Lily did not throw up again after taking it, and (so far) no one else is feeling queasy. I ended up taking a second one last night because my stomach was upset, but I couldn’t tell it was menstrual cramps or that I was getting sick! haha! Played it safe and took the charcoal. Felt better shortly after, so it is possible I was fighting the sickness.

As far as the clay, I really liked it for other reasons than the charcoal – Lily felt so much better after taking the clay bath. I didn’t even tell her the benefits of it, just that she was taking a bath with clay. She thought it was fun, and she initiated all the comments about how good she felt. I made a clay mask for my face, to see how it worked on my acne. It felt really nice, and my skin was so soft after. I put some on Lily’s eczema patches too. It seemed to lessen the redness right away. I am curious on long-term results.

Overall, really impressed with both items! Very glad we bought and tried them. $8 for 100 charcoal capsules, and $9.50 for Redmond Clay. Not bad for such a variety of uses for both things!

(I plan to post about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, clay, and activated charcoal at some point. Just wanted to include here how we are using them for now!)

Today we are taking it easy. Ethan is acting fine, ate a bagel for breakfast (not sure that was the best choice but he is so over yogurt and broth and incredibly hungry….I caved). Lily is slowly eating a bagel and sipping the acv/electrolyte drink, as well as ice water (she was begging for ice water).

I have an amazing mentor from our Titus 2 group at church. She  called yesterday to check in, and today she is bringing us soup and laundry detergent. :) I am so incredibly thankful for her. She has her own things going on, so I know doing this for us isn’t convenient for her. But she is such a giving person! I am sure, too, it will be helpful for Arthur to know she can help us out while he is at work and unable to get us detergent for the obnoxious number of laundry loads we are doing!

So, anyone else have as exciting a week as us?? :)

 

 

 

Menu Planning Gone Crazy!

We have been enjoying the two-week menu plan. It has helped me stay on track with meals, and (for the most part) helped me keep from overspending. I do still find myself, on occasion, forgetting to put things on the list (like diapers! I don’t know how I forget that!!). But, I am getting better. :)

I have been thinking about menu planning for longer periods – three or four weeks – to shop for at one time. The problem has always been money. We plan the two-week menu with the paycheck that covers the upcoming two weeks. Last week, I decided to go for the four-week plan and borrow against some cash we had here at home. I checked with my husband about it, explaining I believed it would help keep us more in budget and give me some more sanity when it came to grocery shopping. He gave me the green light, and I ran with it! I just have to remember to pay us back with that next paycheck!!

I spent an hour a day, for four days last week, planning 28 days of meals – breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I pulled from cookbooks, magazine pages I had torn out, online recipes, and index cards I had stashed away. I came up with 11 meatless dinners and 17 with a meat. I didn’t count pizzas that might have had a meat topping and a meat meal….I was just thinking about meals that required a separate meat to be purchased. For breakfasts, I listed three items to be had every single week and then rotated a couple of others every other week. And lunches are pretty much as they always are – simple and easy and things the kids like.

All in all, it was a stressful but successful planning time! I tried to get the meal planning done during naptimes, but I found that difficult with a million other things to get done. So, I did do a lot of the planning while the kids were awake. I worried so much that I was going to miss something. The only thing I forgot to write? Diapers. AGAIN! This is probably the fourth shopping trip of forgetting to write diapers. Maybe it is because we’ve been using them for so long I forgot about them? Does that even make sense?!

So, written below is what I have come up with. I am very happy with the selection. There are a lot of favorites in there and a lot of new items. Everything is simple, and most are crockpot items, which works out wonderful for me. As far as prepping them and freezing them (which obviously have to be done so things don’t spoil), I did some on Friday and Saturday and froze them. For the chicken meals, I just cooked up and shredded all the chicken. I will just freeze that and make up the meals on the days we need them. I didn’t have a ton of freezer space to hold a huge bag or container of a meal mixed up (maybe next month though!).

 

Breakfast

Weeks 1 and 3:

Biscuits and Gravy

Muffins, Fruit

Waffles

Pancakes

Eggs

Oatmeal

Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal

Weeks 2 and 4:

Cinnamon Rolls

Muffins

Waffles

Pancakes

Eggs

Oatmeal

PB & Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Lunch

Weeks 1 and 3:

Leftovers x 3

Cheese Taco

PB&J x 2

Tostadas

Weeks 2 and 4:

Leftovers x 2

Buttered Noodles

PB&J x 3

Tostadas

Dinner (Meatless in Orange)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Bake, Salad, Veggies and Dip

Pirate Pasta Shells, Salad, Bread

Frozen Pizza x 2, Chips, Veggies and Dip

Homemade Pizza x 2, Chips, Veggies and Dip

Lentil Stew x 2, Bread, Salad

Tortellini Bake, Green Beans, Salad

Homemade Mac and Cheese x 2, Fruit, Peas/Green Beans

Ham and Bean Soup, Cornbread, Fruit

White Chicken Chili x 2, Fruit, Salad

Meatloaf, Carrots, Roasted Potato Cubes

Chicken and Sausage Stew, Salad, Bread

Hamburger Stew x 2, Fruit, Bread

Pasta and Meatballs x 2, Green Beans and Carrots OR Peas and Corn

Chicken and Wild Rice Bread Bowl, Carrots, Peas

Chicken Tetrazzini, Fruit, Bread

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas x 2, Fruit, Corn

Loaded Potato Frittata, Fruit, Toast

Teriyaki Chicken, Carrots, Bread

Baked Ravioli, Green Beans, Bread

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, Corn, Mashed Potatoes

Exercise, Sex, and the Bible

Everywhere I turn, I am bombarded with advertisements, commercials, and even just regular people telling me to work out, get fit, “if you got it, flaunt it”, get some muscle, it’s almost bikini season.

Frankly, I find it pretty annoying. (I am sure some would say the same about me and my “eat well” demands on here. haha!) I honestly don’t care much for exercising at all. Ok, I hate it. I don’t like being sweaty, unless it is because I am outside and it is hot. I am not one to care if I am physically fit. I am also not big on flaunting my body. I have little girls that do exactly what I do, and I would not want them trying to flaunt their bodies around. I have no desire to accentuate any parts of my body so other people can see how good I look.

I recently started exercising, but I haven’t posted about it here because I didn’t want to jinx anything. :) I have been consistent for FOUR full weeks now, and I am loving the results. But, I am not continuing for reasons you might think. Yes, I like to see that I actually have some muscle tone now in my stomach and (a tad) in my arms. Yes, I like to feel a little less old when I carry one of the kids or bend over to pick something up. No, I don’t plan to show off my awesome muscles, though….except for the one pic I texted my sister, when I first saw I had some abs! Ha!

The main reason I exercise is…FOR MY HUSBAND. No, he doesn’t make me exercise. No, he doesn’t tease me or tell me I need to. (except when it comes to running, he tells me I need to run because he thinks everyone should run!) He does not make fun of my post-baby body. He loves my body whether or not I exercise.

Our Pastor is doing a series at church called Zero Shades of Grey, and it has to do with human sexuality from a Biblical standpoint. He is two weeks into it, and I am loving it. As uncomfortable as it may feel sitting with hundreds of people at church, while he talks about sexual fulfillment, it is so nice to hear someone address sex from a Biblical view. One of the things he spoke about, and I knew but hadn’t really considered much, was that a wife’s body belongs to her husband (and husband’s body belongs to the wife…in case you thought I was being sexist there). I knew that verse (I Corinthians 7:4), but I started thinking about my exercising. Sure, I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and see muscle tone and feel fit. I started thinking, though, about what my husband looks at. I know he will love me no matter how I look, but if I have the power to keep my body looking nice for him…then why not?

Why in the world would I sound so non-feministic? Because I am not one to be pro-feminism at all. And because I really don’t care about having a great body for myself. I am married, and everything I do should be with my husband in mind!

So, here are the 4 reasons I exercise for my husband. They are realistic and I really put some thought into them, keeping the Bible in mind and the commands it gives us wives.

1. I exercise for my husband….so I can stay awake in the evenings with him and not fall asleep on the couch at 8:30! We have such a short amount of time together in the evenings, the least I can do is stay awake! :) On the days I exercise and get enough water, I stay awake longer in the evenings. I am more alert and more pleasant to be around (just ask my family!). My husband is gone all day at a job he doesn’t really like; I know he looks forward to spending time with me in the evenings. I want to be awake, alert, and not crabby. Exercise, water intake, and vitamins are the three things that help me do that. (Proverbs 31:15 “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” This woman was up super early…I doubt she was dozing off while her husband was trying to hang out with her!)

2. I exercise for my husband...to look sexy for him. Like I said, he will love me no matter what my body looks like. I do feel like I have some responsibility, though, when it comes to my looks. Sure, pregnancies and babies really take a toll on the youth of our bodies, but there are still things we can do (EXERCISE!) to help our bodies look nice. And since my body’s scars or tone can only be seen when I’m naked…and my husband is the only one that sees me naked…I keep it looking nice for him.

Listen, there are SO many temptations out there for our husbands. Every time they turn around, there is a woman with her breasts hanging out, a butt crack creeping out of jeans, leggings being worn as regular pants and no shirt covering the butt area, skimpy bikinis that are really not appropriate anywhere, and so on. My husband works (and prays) hard to keep himself from lusting. The women out there make it very difficult. FOR ME, I find if I can give him eye candy here at home…he is even less likely to consider looking out there. No, I am not saying men cheat because their wives don’t look nice. I would never excuse infidelity or blame the wife. I will say that if I keep my husband satisfied (like I am supposed to), he will have no reason to look or go elsewhere.

I always think of those verses in Proverbs – “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?” (Proverbs 5:18-20) My husband is to rejoice in me; I am to satisfy him. One way for me to do that is to exercise and keep my body healthy and fit.

3. I exercise for my husband…so I can be around (in good health) to tend to the home and the kids. I love being home with my kids. I love taking care of the household duties. I love homeschooling. I will NOT be able to do that for years and years without taking care of myself. Exercise, water, and vitamins are my best route for keeping healthy and maintaining the housework and taking care of our children. There are so many illnesses (hereditary or not) that can be kept under control or eliminated with good food and exercise. I don’t want my husband to have to worry that I am not able to keep up with the housework or caring for our kids. (Proverbs 31:27-28 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”)

4. I exercise for my husband…so I can have confidence about my body. Look, we all have things about our bodies we dislike. I have no boobs. My collar bone sticks out. I have stumpy legs. My hips are too wide for my waist. And so on. Society doesn’t help, telling us we need to be super skinny with huge boobs in order to be “hot”. When I exercise, the endorphins that kick in really make me happy about the hard work I am putting in. I feel better about what I think are flaws…and I see myself how my husband sees me : BEAUTIFUL. God made us all different. So many different body types. Mothers, I think, have it the worst: battle scars from pregnancy and birth…and then the expectations to be back at a ridiculously small size immediately after giving birth! With all the demands on our bodies as mothers, we can easily feel ugly. Society screams that we have to be a certain way or we are not pretty. Guess what? We are all pretty. We are all beautiful. We are all different. Exercising does something chemical in our bodies and helps us feel better about ourselves. I’m not lying!

HERE is a whole article on what exercising does to our brains.

And when I feel better about my body and less insecure, I feel better flaunting myself in front of my husband. And he finds that sexy. Maybe that’s too much information or makes you a little uncomfortable to read. But, think about it. Your husband is attracted to you and likes looking at you. Do YOU like looking at you? Why not? Try exercising….like a really hard, sweaty 10 minutes or more of exercise. Just see how much better you feel. (And then drink lots of water or you’ll feel crappy again from dehydration!) When YOU think you are hot, and you are more confident about your body around your husband…just watch how much more sexy he finds you. :)

I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) What are we telling God about his “works” if we cannot be happy with the body He has given us?

Please understand I am not looking to be more confident about my body around other people. I couldn’t care less if anyone else likes my body. I am not looking to flaunt my new muscles or my less-flabby booty. I simply want to feel better about how I look because it is even more attractive to my husband to see me confident about my body.

So, I started exercising four weeks ago for me. I wanted to have butt that didn’t jiggle, abs that looked more like a six-pack instead of just the diastasis recti I’ve got going on, and arms that didn’t look old.

But now, after considering what our Pastor has been speaking about and all that the Bible has to say, I will keep up the exercising FOR MY HUSBAND. And I think I like that plan much better!

 

 

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook the other day, and the pictures that went with it looked so yummy. I decided to go ahead and try it…even though it calls for chilling the dough, and I NEVER have enough patience to wait for dough to chill. :)

Here it is: Soft-Baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction!! The recipe said it makes “about 2 dozen”, but I got over 3 dozen out of my dough…and mine were still bigger-than-normal cookies. So, if you go with 2 dozen I bet they will be massive! Not that it is a bad thing to make massive cookies. :)

IMG_2638[1]YUM!

Menu Plan Update

We are on week two of the menu plan. I changed a couple of things to work around a stomach bug my oldest had for two days. Instead of bean and barley soup, I made a simple risotto instead with homemade bone broth. I figured the beans would be too hard on her tummy while it was out of sorts. And instead of the chicken and rice dish, I made it into a chicken and rice soup, again made with homemade bone broth.

There are several things I am really loving lately – bone broth, water kefir, and fresh orange juice.

1. Homemade bone broth is a WONDERFULLY healthy food to keep on hand. What I have found to be easy and manageable is using my crockpot to slow cook two whole chickens together all day long. I then take the meat off the bones and put the bones back into the crockpot, cover them with water (usually 8-12 cups) and throw in a little apple cider vinegar, a stalk of celery, some onion and a couple of carrots. Then I cook is on Low for 12-18 hours. It works perfectly if I start the broth at dinner time; then I can catch it at breakfast and it is always done around lunch. There isn’t much hands-on except starting it and then straining the bones and other things out when it is done cooking. I pour the strained broth in quart mason jars and let them cool on the counter, then put a lid on and store in the fridge because we usually use them over the next few days. (you can also freeze or can the broth, if you want.) It will gel as it cools, but it easily melts once you warm it for soup (or risotto, or making rice or pasta with, or even to sip!). Bone broth is amazingly good for you, and there are a lot of resources online that recommend sipping it throughout the day, especially when you are feeling under the weather. It is incredibly easy on the stomach.

Here are a couple of sites for more info on bone broth:

Nourished Kitchen

Cultures for Health

Keeper of the Home

Wellness Mama

2. Water Kefir is another great food to keep around. I am still new to making my kefir, but I am amazed at how easy it is and how many options there are for flavors! A friend from church gave me some water kefir grains (which are not actually grains, that is just what they are called) and some instructions and away I went. My girls were pretty interested in experimenting with me. I am making about a quart of it every other day, and we have tried 4 flavors (other than the original flavor) so far: vanilla, strawberry vanilla, pomegranate soda, and raisin soda.

Essentially, all you are doing is feeding the good bacteria with sugars, letting them ferment once (or twice, with flavors) and then drinking it! You just repeat the process over and over with the “grains” and they grow. You can divide them up and give them away to friends, which I am excited to do soon. My husband isn’t quite sold on the idea of fermenting things and ingesting them :), but I am hoping to win him over soon!

Here are a couple of sites that I have found great info from with regard to feeding the grains, flavors, and other things:

Wellness Mama

Cultures for Health

3. Fresh Orange Juice is mostly just so delicious. Did you know that the company’s that produce orange juice color their juice, so that they all have that bright orange color? Have you ever wondered how the juices are so uniform in color and taste?? And they don’t have to list that coloring or flavoring on their containers! I had never really considered it before, saw an article about it, and then really began to notice the coloring of the juice. EVERY carton is the same color….but when I make it at home, sometimes the color varies in orangey-ness (is that a word??) and in flavor.

I have cut back on the amount of juice I consume because of the sugar content. Even juice squeezed at home is high in sugar. The BEST way to consume fruit juices is in smoothies (in my opinion) because you get the fiber of the fruit in addition to the juice. When you juice fruits, you ONLY get the sugary juice. No fiber. When you make smoothies you are using the whole fruit (skin/peel/rind of most fruits). AND usually you use a probiotic rich ingredient like yogurt with the smoothie, so you are getting even more benefits with the smoothie route.

My kids still enjoy juice with breakfast, so on the days I serve juice I like to make it myself. My husband would prefer to just pull a carton from the fridge and pour a glass, but that’s a struggle for another day. :) Thankfully, my kiddos do love smoothies as well, so we can mix it up in the morning with options of juice, smoothies or just a glass of milk.

So, those are some of my favorite things as of late and the reasons I am enjoying them in our diet.

Have you tried something new lately that you just absolutely love?? Please share!

The Privilege

We have a dinner table that seats six. Our family has seven people in it. Ethan, our youngest, sits in a chair (of a different set of chairs) with his booster seat and tray strapped to it. He does not like sitting in it, and he LOVES that for snack times he gets to sit at “the big table.”

Today for lunch, we were not having messy foods (although boys seem to know how to make any food a messy food!), so I told him he could sit in the big chairs at the big table. His eyes lit up, and he climbed into my chair at the table. He sat so still, waiting for his foods, even trying to pull his sleeves up for me. I reminded him to sit still, or he would have to go back in his little chair.

I have never seen this kid sit so well before! He stayed in his chair, kept all the foods on the table and got nothing on his shirt. He ate better than all of the big kids! He just knew he had to do his best or he wouldn’t be allowed to sit like a big kid again for lunch.

The bigger kids all knew they will sit at the big table regardless of how well they sit or how neatly they eat, so they ate like hooligans. I mean, what am I gonna do – strap them into the baby seat?? :) I laughed, to myself, about how different the attitudes towards sitting at the table were. And then I yelled at the big kids for eating like that because they know better.

It got me thinking about Christianity and life. How a lot of times we Christians know that God isn’t going to take our privilege (of sitting at His table) away, and we get lazy about how well we act toward Him and His Word and the life He has asked us to live. We know He isn’t going to take salvation away; we’re in. And then we kinda quit on Him. We got what we wanted and that’s that.

If only we could all act toward God like Ethan did for lunch. Behave to the best of our ability. Follow all the “rules”. Show our Father how much we appreciate the privilege of His presence. Of His free gift of eternal life. Not just take the gift and then go back to acting like hooligans.

I completely understand why the world does not see Christians in a positive light most of the time. Because we act no different. Yes, we have a wonderful gift of salvation and the most amazing privilege to know God. But we act no different in our day-to-day. We rush through Bible study, just to check it off the list. We go to church because it is habit. We volunteer to help at church but only because we feel obligated…not because we find joy in serving. (please know when I say “we”, I am speaking of myself…because I know exactly how I am). We do our household “duties” because…well, because it is our job and no one else is going to do it. We aren’t doing it “unto the Lord” at all. For me, the days are hurried and chaotic and LOUD. I get caught up in the appointments and the To Do’s, and I forget that God has placed me where I am to do all that I have to do FOR HIM. Not just to get through the day, but to shine as a light for Jesus in whatever task I am doing – housework, homeschool, volunteer at church, sitting in the church service, typing on Facebook, changing a diaper or even cleaning up puke. It is supposed to be all for Him. But, I let it overwhelm me and ask “is there anything here for ME? Why don’t I ever have something for me?” And then my light for Him gets a little dimmer. Pretty soon no one can see my light, and I can’t see my privilege anymore. All I see is work. Hard work. I have to refocus and choose to see the real reason I am here. Not for me. It’s for Him. It’s all for Him.

Today’s lunch experience, though funny at first, is a great reminder to go back to the excitement of when we first learned about Jesus. Go back to when we had that strong desire to please Him and to serve Him and do everything as “unto the Lord and not unto men.”(Colossians 3:23) Choose to serve and love others for God. To shine a light for Jesus. Be Jesus to others.

We have the great privilege of knowing the Great God. Let’s live like it.