Pure Faith

Kim shares:

In my life I have learned how important it is to pray because I have experienced answered prayers and have seen others experience it as well.  Sometimes the importance of talking to God is overlooked or when asking for prayer, people don’t really believe God will answer.  Someone once told me, “God is not moved by tears alone, but by pure faith.” Basically saying that I could cry my eyes out for help for me or someone else’s situation, but if I didn’t truly believe there was a faithful God who would answer me, it didn’t really matter that I was “praying.”

When I first began learning how to talk to God, I didn’t do it much because I just didn’t know how, and I was scared I would do it wrong.  I’ve learned He doesn’t judge or criticize, if anything He’s joyous.  Looking down smiling, saying well done, happy that I am reaching out to Him.   I’ve learned there is no wrong way if I have a true heart.  I found out it was as easy as talking with one of my friends, or not even saying anything at all, as God knows me that well.

Fellow MOPS mom and friend, Cris, helped teach me the basics. I remember a couple years ago asking, “Now how do you pray? What do I say? How do I start?” I don’t know how many times.  An important thing I learned from her is learning to give thanks to God always.  I have done my best to see that in any situation when praying for family members, friends, or myself that there is always something to be grateful for.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience Gods peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

I thought this was a beautiful prayer worth sharing from Saint Theresa

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that
has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to
sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
‘Worry looks around,
Sorry looks back, Faith looks up’

 

Snowflakes

We’ve had an abundance of snow days lately and I thought it was time to get out our paper and scissors to make some snowflakes of our own.  Graham and I made some last year and he’s been asking to do it again for a couple of months now.

Supplies:
thin paper – I bought square origami paper at Hobby Lobby (I’m sure they have it at Michael’s too) because I can’t cut a square square for the life of me
sharp scissors – even for the kids, they’re less likely to have accidents with sharp scissors
patience
I had seen patterns for beautiful snowflakes scattered across the internet.  I started here with a pattern for folding a five-pointed snowflake.  Graham and I tried it together at first and then we both agreed I should fold and he should cut.

Once you have your paper folded, go to town cutting out designs. I liked to draw guidelines on my folded paper first, Graham liked to go free hand.  Do what works for you. You can find some great cutting patterns here, here and here.

The best part is unfolding!

Admittedly, Graham got bored of this long before I did.  We spent a little time each afternoon for a couple of days and came up with a pretty little snowflake garland to hang.

And while Graham and I were busy folding and cutting, I handed the little guy a glue stick and our scraps.  He was perfectly happy collaging them and felt he was a part of the snowflake making too!

Delicious Black Bean Burgers and Turkey Burgers

Black Bean Burger Photo From Whole Foods

This month I have decided to pass along a couple of recipes that I have not had the opportunity to fix for you. They may be a little different than what you are used to and if so I hope you will take a chance and try one or both of them. We eat a lot of burgers at my house, my husband would eat them a couple times a week if I would prepare them. The rest of us get a little tired of a plain old cheeseburger, not to mention that much ground beef isn’t good for anybody, so I looked around and found a couple of substitutes that even my husband will eat. The first are  black bean burgers which are completely meatless but still offer a ton of protein and have a great flavor. The second are turkey burgers and are enhanced by a delicious pesto basil mayo. I sometimes like make some of the patties small and serve them on slider buns for the kids, it’s just the right amount of food and much easier for their little hands to handle.

Black Bean Burgers

1 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 Tbls chili powder
1 Tbls cumin
1 tsp chili sauce or hot sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
(I double this recipe for my family)
preheat oven to 375
1. Mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
2. In a food processor, finely chop pepper, onion and garlic. Stir into beans.
3. In a small bowl, stir together, egg, chili powder, cumin and hot sauce.
4. Stir egg mixture into beans. Mix in bread crumbs until mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into 4 patties.
5. Place patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes on each side.
I haven’t decided the best way to serve these. Sometimes I like to put a slice of tomato and some pickles on top just like I would a regular burger but other times I like to put a little dollop of sour cream on with my tomato, either way, they are one of my favorite meals.

 

Turkey Burgers

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup italian salad dressing
2 garlic cloves
1 pound turkey burger
2 turkey sausages, casings removed

 

Pesto mayo
2 Tbls mayo
1 Tbls basil pesto

 

1. Mix together first 5 ingredients and form into patties.
2. Cook over medium heat about 7 minutes on each side.
3. Meanwhile combine mayo and pesto and spread onto buns.
These burgers come together really quickly with the use of a few convenience foods. I buy my bread crumbs, salad dressing, pesto and when I’m pressed for time use minced garlic, 1 tsp equals 1 garlic clove, instead of fresh. Also the recipe calls for two sausages but the pack I buy comes with five so I use 2 1/2 and freeze the rest for the next time I make these.
Enjoy!


Listening and Loving

Kim shares:

I’m reading this book titled Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, by Judy Ford. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read it, but I find myself skipping around through the pages reading and then re-reading it over again, and am moved by every section I read. Ford offers advice and examples, which is very helpful. It is a book essentially about parenting, however, I feel as though I can apply it to other relationships in my life (like with my husband).

In the book, there is a part called Listening from the Heart and I found it so fitting in relation to our little exercise last meeting, when we spent some time focusing on listening and not interrupting the other mom for two minutes, but also being able to speak free and clear without any interruptions ourselves. I found out two minutes really is a long time. I also found the experience eye opening. Not only for what I found out about myself, but also that someone else had their own story to tell.

In Wonderful Ways to Love a Child it says, “Listening from the heart means not jumping in with your point of view, but rather hearing what life is like from your child’s perspective.” I found this to be true when sharing at MOPS. I found when listening just to two different people I had the same perspective and life experience as one and different from another, but I would have never even learned about these women without genuinely listening that night.

As I tried to write this article about listening, I found it a struggle. I prayed for God’s help. He led me on a journey through this book and I learned so much about myself. Mostly about listening. I found myself guilty of interrupting and even sometimes finishing other people’s sentences, thinking I knew what they were going to say. I found out I was hearing but not really listening all the time.

In reading, God led me to two other sections in the book titled Really Love Yourself and Allow Them to LoveThemselves. It says in the book, “when you accept who you are, you will not be afraid to grow, to learn, to change.” I realized that God needed me to see that my listening skills, or lack there of, was something that I needed to change. However I needed to love myself enough to see those imperfections, and allow myself to be open to change.

What better way to show someone you love them than to listen and find out about them and their point of view, what their story is. I think God is trying to show me that by listening, I am allowing myself to love someone else and show them love, by knowing that their story is important enough to be listened to. I am a work in progress and I pray that God continues to open my heart up to change if need be.

The section Listening from the Heart helped to show me the importance of listening, but loving myself is where the change begins. Here is an excerpt from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child (And if you get a chance you should check out the book):

“Listen From Your Heart

Listening from your heart is completely different from listening with your ears. Few people know how to do this, and very few parents listen to their children this way. Listening from the heart means being genuinely interested, open, and caring. It means being eager to hear, to learn, to be astonished-without the need to argue, interrupt the flow, or give advice (the really hard part!) Listening from the heart means not jumping in with your point of view, but rather hearing what life is like from your child’s perspective. It is listening with a sense of wonder. When you listen from your heart, your child feels safe to tell all, for a child who is with a receptive adult opens up and shares freely.

When Jake was caught cutting high school, he was upset and called his dad, John, insisting he pick him up right away. While driving to the school John reminded himself not to jump to conclusions but to allow Jake to do the talking. Jake told his dad that he didn’t want to return to school that day, that he needed time to think. So instead of scolding, lecturing, or dispensing advice, John took his son for a walk and continued listening. Jake talked about everything from soccer to grades to money. The more John listened, the more Jake shared. He talked about his girlfriend, sex, and his future. Because of John’s heartfelt listening, what might have been a confrontation softened into an intimate father-son conversation, ending with Jake listening to his father’s point of view.

A child who is upset needs sensitive listening where few words are exchanged. Remember that old saying “Oh” or “Hmmm” is sometimes enough; the fewer words from you, the better. Don’t try to coax for more information than your child wants to give. Crystal cried and gasped for air while she told her mom how Lissy wouldn’t share the dolls. Fortunately, Mom avoided the tendency to fix the problem. She listened, nodded in understanding, and, as often happens, within an hour or so Crystal was playing with Lissy again.

A child who is crying does not want to be asked questions or be given advice. In fact, he wants you to understand without having to explain. When your child has finished crying or is no longer upset, you might ask a simple question, such as, “Something happened?” or “Bad day?” Too many questions and your child feels defensive. Some children will share more; others will want to keep it to themselves, and you need to learn to respect their way.

Listening from your heart will heighten the sense of closeness with your child, and many times you’ll discover that your gentle, quiet listening is all that’s needed for your child to find his own solution.”

 

Dear God I thank you for the journey you are sending me on of love and self-discovery. I also pray that you are with other moms who choose to take that journey and may not know you. Please help me learn to listen and not just hear what you, my family and friends have to say, and help me to understand the importance of another’s point of view. Also, please help me to love myself everyday even with my imperfections. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Crafting with Kids – All Natural Play Clay

Kristin shares a great activity for indoor time with your kids.

Here is a craft that takes next to no time, effort, or skill and is still one of my kids’ favorite craft of all time – Play Clay.  Family Fun features a fantastic recipe for this clay that is easy to make, easy to clean up, non-toxic and safe to ingest (if you have one of those kids). This recipe features all natural dyes too, which is flippin’ fantastic when your kids are as sensitive to the artificial dyes as mine are.

Hop on over to Family Fun to check out the how-to!

Time Well Spent

Kim shares from her life something we can all relate to:

Ever find that your “to-do” list is never ending? That when you cross something off, life throws three more things back at you, that “have” to be done. Especially with the holidays here it seems that my to-do list has acquired another page; decorate the tree, gifts to get, people to see, things to fix, bills to pay, bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, dishes to do, kids to drive, la da da da da.

My husband made the comment to me a couple weeks ago, “If you don’t slow down, your life is going to pass you by.” I took a moment, looked at my husband and beautiful kids playing on the floor and realized, how blessed am I. My husbands’ words stung, yet touched a part of my heart. How could I be making the other busy stuff, more important than my time with them? I felt like Martha when Jesus came to visit her home and she was so busy getting ready she was missing the most important part.

It says in Luke 10: 38-42, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, “’you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”

That’s how I feel sometimes, “Lord, tell my husband to help me!” You see my husband is very good at playing with our children, when I want him to help me with the dishes. For the past week, even in my crazy, chaotic, can’t-help-it-but-that’s-the-way-God-wants-to-test-me kind of life, I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow down and teach our kids a different meaning of Christmas, about relationships and love, like Jesus offered.

All four of us decorated the tree as a family, and I took the time to share stories about my life and the different Christmas ornaments that were given to me each year as I was a child growing up, and to show our kids the ornaments they have received. I took the time (and patience) to set up our nativity scene with our two small children, even though I was sort of freaking out not wanting them to break any of the pieces that had been so carefully painted and built by my grandparents, to teach them about the manger and answer my daughter’s question of why baby Jesus had to sleep in the barn with the cows. And talk to my son about the three kings giving gifts, and their camels and the shepherds, and showed them that all they owned was carried on their backs (that they didn’t have a house full of toys and things.)

I took the time to see my husband’s shed and how organized he had made it after working all day on it, because it meant something to him and he was proud. I took the time to pretend with our daughter and push babies around and let her be a mommy and I the daughter, no matter how silly it felt riding around in the back of her pretend van, listening to “now buckle your seatbelt sissy.” I took the time for that extra snuggle on the couch with my son, because he wanted “a few more minutes mom” before bed. I still had things on my to-do list and it was hard to just sit there at first, but it ended up being good for him and me. Besides, was cleaning up the kitchen more important than that? I took some time out from the things I thought I had “to do,” to spend some time with my family.

I once heard “people and relationships are always more important than schedules, agendas and things.” Or that, “We fill up our lives with so much activity that it’s no wonder the day is over before we realize it. What you do is important, but we are human beings not human doings.” I love that one.

My daughter keeps singing a country song (revised from her three year old words) “take a little walk, say a little prayer, take a deep breath of mountain air, put on my glove, play some catch, it’s time that I make time for that.” It makes me think about what’s top priority on my to-do list in this busy life. It is time that I make time for that…to slow down and enjoy life and add some new things to my to-do list.

I am so thankful for my family and what we share. Although we are not perfect and whether my children get the lesson I was trying to teach about the manger scene or not, I’m still happy I took the time with them to share about Jesus. I thank God everyday for my family, and for helping me to slow down and see them through His eyes. In my sometimes crazy, stressed out life, it’s much easier and more rewarding

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Kristin shares a quick and special gift that is great for grandparents or other family members.

Handy Coasters
I had my 3 girls make these as Christmas presents for their grandparents last year. Great practical use as well as a sweet reminder of how much the kids have grown over the years. My mom has hers out every time we visit and the girls often put their hands over their cut-out hands to see how big they are now.

Materials

Card stock
Pencil or chalk
2 coordinating or contrasting cotton fabrics (washed, dried, and ironed)

1 package double-sided stiff fusible interfacing (we used Dritz Heavyweight InnerFuse, $7 at fabric stores)
Iron

Instructions

Trace your child’s hand on a piece of card stock and cut it out to make a template. Use a pencil or chalk to trace the desired number of coasters on one of the fabrics. Trim the fabric into a rectangle that contains all of your tracings, then trim the second fabric and the interfacing to match its size.

Following the interfacing package’s instructions, fuse it between the two fabrics with an iron (an adult’s job). Cut along the traced lines with scissors.

NOTE: these can also be made by tracing your child’s hands on nice printed scrapbooking paper (maybe with a winter or Christmas theme?) and covering with paper laminate and then cutting out the tracings with an exacto knife. (WAY more accurate than scissors…..as I learned the hard way and 4 hands in. HA!)

Have fun and enjoy your children!

(here are more last minute Christmas gift ideas via FamilyFun Magazine!)

familyfun.go.com

Time is running out for the Christmas Season! Act fast and create these 40 last minute Christmas Gift Ideas on FamilyFun.com