Monday, June 30, 2014

Bible Time With God and The Baby

Deb & Baby K - ain't we cute?
Even with warnings that "things will change" once Baby arrives, there is nothing like on-the-job training to find out what It.Is.Really.Like.   That cute little bundle is such a blessing, but my-oh-my there is just not enough time in the day to get stuff done.   Making dinner while holding a Baby should be an episode on Iron Chef or on Chopped! 

So the former routine of reading the Bible first thing every morning quickly becomes a thing of the past, a regret and a sigh.   It's noon before you realize it, the breakfast bowls are still on the table, never mind even being carried over to the dishwasher!   Plus.  Hubby expects to eat dinner when he gets home and, oh dear!, I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer when I thought of it while nursing the baby this morning.   ARrrgh!  

SO!  The dream of being the perfect little Christian wife and mother, the happy home-maker who would keep a tidy & pretty house and make every meal from scratch and create some cute little craft projects in her spare time, maybe write a DIY blog while the Baby napped in the afterno------screeeeeeech! 

Of course, we certainly expected that things would change when Baby arrived.  Like we're not going to get eight hours of sleep at night.   And the diapers.  And the laundry.   But wow.   We just don't expect things to change THIS MUCH!    
Like doing everything one-handed.  Like how TIME changes when you have a baby. 

God doesn't expect us to neglect our children or husbands in order to study His Word.   He also doesn't expect us to give up on spending time with Him either, but He *has* given us a job to do.  We're wives.  Mothers.   Keepers at home.   When we do the job He's given us, we're serving Him.

Review (for just a moment) these words from Titus.....they are your Marching Orders:

"Older women should train the younger women
 to love their husbands and children, 
to be self-controlled and pure, 
to be busy at home, 
to be kind, 
and to be subject to their husbands, 
so that no one will malign the Word of God."

Here are a few ideas I've figured out over the years.

1 - This period of life is a "seasonal" thing.   When you have wee ones at the breast and under-foot, your challenge is different than it is when they are older and more inclined to want to stay in bed half the morning!   So.  You must adapt.   That is, adapt your schedule.  Adapt your expectations.  

2 - Consider that NOW your role has changed from "student" to teacher, from eater to feeder.   Of course you will ALWAYS be a student of God's Word and will ALWAYS be sitting at Christ's feet. However.   
Instead of moaning over missing out on quiet time with the LORD, consider that reading a Bible story from the Old or New Testament OR sharing a simple devotion with one or two Bible passages is EXACTLY what your children need.  When you teach someone else, you learn more than your students.     

3 - Lead by example.  
When I taught third & fourth grades, it was standard practice to encourage parents to model reading at home: studies show that children of readers become readers.  Doesn't matter if it's a book, newspaper or magazine--as long as the parent gets engrossed (you'd say something like, "Oohh, I'm at the good part, can you wait a second?"), the child most likely will see the benefits and want to copy her parents. 

I'm convinced the same is true of Bible reading:  if your children (from tiny on) see you eager and excited to read God's Word ("can't get enough!"), they will soon be doing the same thing.  Little ones are very QUICK to copy their parents! 

First thing in the morning, read with your children.   Last thing at night, say prayers with them.   You are creating life-long habits.  

4 - 
Change your thinking about what you're satisfied with when you DO get to sit down and read or study God's Word.   Instead of regretting you didn't get to read/study for an hour, be thankful you got one minute!   Besides:  even just short passages are beneficial; remember, the LORD tells us "My Word will not return to Me empty."  Your whole perspective changes when you read with and to your children. Passages and concepts that you NEVER noticed before will POP (!!!) off the page at you.  Studying or reading for one minute is better than no minutes!  Be GLAD for what you DO get to munch on each day.

Sign up for Bible Love Notes - seriously, they're ONE MINUTE long to read...but they are spot-on and so uplifting!   

One of my sketches - shared on TTF Bible Reading Buddies

5 - Wolves don't eat three meals a day. But, whoooo! when they DO make a kill, look out (!)--they chow down on a banquet.  Eat up, Junior, we don't know when we're gonna eat again!  Gut-busting FULL from that one meal.  

So, too, when the chance presents itself in your day (or maybe only once a week); gorge yourself on God's Word when you can and then mull it over and over all week long.   And realize = you might be on this kind of diet for a few years.  But don't worry--there will be time later for lingering and leisurely lounging through God's Word.   But for now....make do with what you get!

Yes, it's good to have priorities, and most days--as the children get older--you will find a way to work it into your routine.   But when the schedule gets sacked, be GLAD you've committed a few passages to memory--and feast or nibble on those!

6 - Hook up with like-minded friends on Facebook or via email or real life (imagine that!).   Agree to send each other timely Bible passages, share what you HAVE had time to read, and encourage one another.    I have a Facebook group for just this purpose (we're following a chronological reading plan through the Bible); click here if you'd like to join us:  TTF Bible Reading Buddies (TTF stands for Titus Two Friends).  

Encourage your sisters who aren't as far along the path as you are.   Remember what it was like to be a new mom, tired and discouraged.   And if you're the discouraged new mom....take heart--it is ONLY for a season.   Smile and thank GOD for the sweet blessing in your arms.  God will give you what you need--He says when we ask in His name, He hears us.  

7 - Use the technology you have available.  Set up your smart-phone to send you daily Bible passages.   Get one passage to come in about 1 minute after your alarm clock is set to start your day.   Have another come in around lunch time.   Another in the afternoon or evening.  OR whatever time you seem to notice your need the spiritual snack.

I don't have little kids, and these are such Day Boosters it always makes me reflect on my blessings.   So.  TREASURE those little tidbits.  God is sending you JUST WHAT YOU NEED at that time.   Soak it up.   There are a ton of these apps available; here are the ones I like:

iTunes "Word Alert"
iTunes "Daily Bible Inspiration"

8 - Treasure up God's Word in your heart.  Print uplifting Bible passages on card-stock and stick one on your bathroom mirror.  Read it every morning, while you're brushing your teeth--let it set the tone for your day.  While you're washing your hands later in the day, close your eyes and recite it to yourself.  Just think:   God is with you.  
Here is a list of 100 Bible verses that are worth printing and committing to memory. 
Yep!  We just made YOU smile!


 * * * * * * *
Hopefully these ideas will help you put things into perspective for making time for Bible reading and caring for Baby without neglecting either one.
* * * * * * *

If you liked this article, you might want to check out this one about Time & Priorities  or this one about Bible Time with the family.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Save the Towels! Save the Dishes!

My mom "saves" the good kitchen towels for when "company" comes.  

For Christmas one year, I gave her a couple sets of new matching dish cloths, hand towels and hotpads--I was a young single woman just a few years out of high school, and I had ideas about how to spiff up Ma's farm kitchen.  

About 15 years later, I was digging through her towel drawer (again!) looking for one that wasn't so thin you could read a newspaper through it.   Ah-ha!  The ones I gave her!  Still with their original creases--oh, for pete-sake!!

"Ma!  Why don't you use these?" I held them up, a bit incredulous and somewhat accusatory.

"I'm saving them for good," she explains as if I'm still three and gives me this look that says something.  Surely my education has been lacking if I don't know this already--and by that time I'd finished four years in the Air Force and had graduated from college with high honors as well!      

"Oh, and are we not good enough to put them out?"

Her explanation, born from growing up during the Depression and WWII, I've heard before, certainly made sense back in the days when my five brothers and I and my dad were trucking in and out of the kitchen on our way to or from the barn and the outside chores.   We didn't mean to, but eight pair of hands can turn a clean towel dirty, soggy and unappealing in no time flat.
. . . . . 

Our "everyday" glasses

She gave me the good china a few years back.   I warned her that we would be "using" the good dishes--and not just for company but for spatial family dinners, too. 

"What if you break one of them?" she worried.   I could almost detect her hands moving into a protective mode ready to take back the heavy box.

"Well, then we break one and I'll be sad,"   And I would be, because breaking a dish from someone special is like giving up a little piece of them!   "...but at least we're using them and enjoying them--much more than if they just take up space in a cupboard."  

She pauses and thinks about this new-fangled notion.  But not convinced.

"And I'll think about you and Gramma every time I pull them out."  And I mean it.  Sincerely.   

"Oh, well.  Then I guess it's okay."  

Oh, well, then I guess I passed that test.

. . . . . . . 

My 2nd brother once wrote how our generation was standing on the shoulders of giants; how we benefit from the sacrifices our parents and grand- & great-grandparents made, and what a sure and solid and steady foundation they've given us.  

I've always liked that analogy; it reminds me of being a little girl, and that feeling of connection with the people whose warm hands picked me up and lifted me high into the air with a joyous bounce and a great big hug.  

A legacy and a heritage.   What am I giving my children?   What will they remember from their childhood and teen years?   Who will I be to them?  

Our generations:   one down, one up - squeeze me in between!

We're eating off the good china and remembering dinners in Gramma and Grampa's kitchen, when (it seems) life was more carefree and the future stretched out into forever.

And we'll use the "good" towels to clean up afterwards.

He has given us ... an inheritance that can 
never perish, spoil or fade--
kept in heaven for you....

Therefore, prepare your minds for action;
be self-controlled, 
set your hope fully on the grace 
to be given you 
when Jesus Christ is revealed.

....Live your lives as 
strangers here in reverent fear.
For you know that it is not 
with perishable things
 such as silver or gold that you were 
redeemed from the empty way of life...
but with the precious blood of Christ.

....Always be prepared
 to give an answer to everyone 
who asks you to give the 
reason for the hope that you have...
1 Peter 1, 2 & 3 NIV

You might like this post Motherhood 101 or this one Mothers of Giants (I just realized how poorly titled most of my posts are--how do you like these new titles?) 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Snack Time! Apples & Dip

Here's a quick and easy recipe for summer-time--or really anytime you need a good treat!   I used to make this all the time when my children were in 4-H ~ the kids would scarf this down in no time flat.

Also great to take to church fellowship or potluck dinners! Makes a great treat for a lunch box or at a summer picnic in the park with the kids OR fancy enough to serve the ladies when you get together for Bible class.

Cut up a mess of apples (that is:  core & slice - leave the peel for more fibery-goodness!) and DO make a double batch of the dip.  Seriously, just trust me on that.

Also, this dip looks a LOT like those peanut butter dips, so I always make a little sign from a 3x5 card folded in half.  Then diners or snackers with allergies are good-to-go and everyone is happy knowing they're getting a sweet treat!

Sliced Apples and Caramel Apple Dip 


  • 1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese (I use neufchatel, lower calories!)
  • 1 C. brown sugar


1 - The cream cheese should be room temp/soft.

2 - Dump softened cream cheese into your mixing bowl with beater; begin beating it.

3 - Add the brown sugar and mix for about 3 minutes until well-blended (which means you won't see ANY sugar crystals); the mixture will be very smooth and fluffy.

Serve with sliced apples or pears or chunks of banana or stalks of rhubarb (allow for double-dipping on individual plates/bowls!).  >>>>>

The original recipe listed a dash of vanilla but we like to taste the brown sugar flavor!

NOTE:  I use a firm and tart apple (Braeburn, Cameo, Pink Lady) which is a nice contrast for the sweetness of the dip.   My daughter likes this dip with Granny Smith's, too.  Or mix Grannies with Red Delicious for a holiday buffet.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all!"
Proverbs 31: 27-29 NIV

Here's a page you might enjoy featuring Kitchen Stuff!