Thursday, April 30, 2009

Randomness

I'm feeling all over the board today, so bear with me.

My little guy below is home sick today. Isn't he so cute bringing me weeds...oops...I mean flowers? (Picture not taken today) He was sick with a fever of 102.6 at 10:00 last night. (My thoughts immediately went to illness of the swine variety!) Today, no fever. Thank the Lord, of course, but since he can't go to school (no fever in the past 24 hours), we are home. My day without kids is not happening. :) But we are having a great day working on numbers, writing, counting, and coloring in our pj's.

Next random topic....
I went through a time when I would only purchase organic fruits and veggies.
I felt it was the best for our family. I STILL feel it is the BEST choice for our family, but my desire to get out of debt outweighs the desire to put $5/lb. strawberries into my kids.
So, I've tried to come up with ways to feel better about putting $1.50/lb. strawberries into my kids, that are potentially laced with pesticides and herbicides. (Makes me cringe even uttering the words!)
I make my own fruit and veggie wash. It's much cheaper than the store bought kind and I think it is just as effective. I can't promise that it removes ALL of the yuckiness from our fruits and veggies, but I'm sure it removes most of it.

Here's how we do it....
(I can't WAIT to get a new camera...sorry for the fuzzy pictures)
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup distilled vinegar
1 T baking soda
20 drops of grapefruit complex liquid
1 empty spray bottle
Recipe courtesy of Sophie
Put 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar in a large pitcher.
Add 1 T Baking Soda.
This is my kids favorite part! Now you see why it has to go into a large pitcher first.
Then add approximately 20 drops of grapefruit liquid complex.
Lastly, pour it into a clean spray bottle.

That's it! So easy!!!
Then you spray on your fruit and veggies. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
Rinse with water and eat.

We washed these grapes, then we popped them into the freezer for a refreshing snack later.
We heart frozen grapes around here!!

Last randomness....
I wanted to let you know about a promotion that Hallmark is doing. This is a great idea for a Mother's Day card. Mother's Day is just around the corner and will be here before you know it!

Go over to Hallmark.com and choose a 5x7 greeting card online. Give them the mailing address and they will mail it for you. It will be completely FREE! Just use code CARD4MOM at checkout. If you'd prefer to receive the card so you can sign it yourself, put in your own address (quick, though, or you won't have enough time to mail it again).

If you want to send a photo card, find a photo and upload it at KodakGallery.com. You can make a custom photo card there for FREE also by entering the coupon code FREECARD at checkout. You can mail it directly to Mom for just $.99.
That's all the random thoughts for now...have a great day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aaahhhh.....




Photos by Southern Living
I can dream my backyard looks like this....
At least someone's does. :)
Welcome spring!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Working hard

My sweet little 4-year-old has been working hard to learn his numbers and counting! I love that he is so interested in learning.

I put together a counting game for him, using an egg carton and beans. We numbered the bottom of each compartment 1- 12. He then counted that particular number of beans to go into the slots.


He took this task very seriously!

And enjoyed counting out loud...


Little brother had his own, as well.

"Counting? What's counting? I just want to scatter beans!"


He's also learning to write his numbers. He's doing quite well!




Great job, sweetheart!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Dave Ramsey series!


As you know, as a family we are working hard to get out of debt. We have been living on a budget and free of credit cards for almost 4 years now. By the grace of God, we're getting closer each day!

We have followed Dave Ramsey's plan and it has worked beautifully. We are always encouraged by him and inspired to keep on keepin' on!

He recently did a three-part series of messages at Lifechurch.tv which is available to watch free online here. It's like a mini-version of his Total Money Makeover Live Event, with his session on Giving, from Financial Peace University, thrown in as well. If you've not listened to him before, I encourage you to take some time and go watch this three-part series. You just might get a little motivated, encouraged or hopeful!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Super Power Muffins

We had a great time making some very yummy and nutritious muffins!

I wanted to share the recipe with you. HOWEVER.....I would totally give credit where credit is due, IF I COULD REMEMBER WHERE IT IS DUE!!!!! I cannot, for the life of me, remember where in blogland I picked up this recipe. So, in the very far-reaching chance that the owner of this recipe reads, or hears, about this...I never intended to take credit. I just can't remember where it came from. I'm so sorry! But be encouraged if the recipe is yours...it is DELISH. We love these!

We made "Super Power Muffins". I made actual muffins..and the boys "made" their own.


The RECIPE:

1 cup brown sugar (don't pack it)
1/4 to 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 banana
1/2 cup of applesauce or carrot puree
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
*optional 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients well and set aside. Blend everything else and then sift in dry ingredients.

Spray muffin tray. Bake for 15-18 mins.
Makes 12 ~ double for 24. (I made muffins and mini-muffins)

It makes a great breakfast!
I put some in the freezer for later, as well.

So how are they, you ask? Let's ask my 2-year-old....


Enough said!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fun-loving FRUGALITY!

What a week this has been! We’ve been super busy. But what FUN it’s been to be at home!!! (Thank you, sweet husband of mine, for letting me be at home and take care of you guys. I love you for taking care of us so well.)

Making the decision to be back home full time, we decided that my job would no longer be to MAKE us money…but now it would be to SAVE us money. I was excited and up for the challenge! I am so not THERE yet....I haven't arrived. There are amazing women out there who inspire me, encourage me, and get me energized for the task. I don't even know these women personally, but love receiving their giftedness through other blogs and sites. In my "novice-ness" (is that even a word?!?), I would love to share some of the things we did as a family this week to be as frugal as possible.
One way is through couponing. I have to first put the disclaimer out there....I AM SO GREEN AT THIS! I'm not the best at the couponing game. My sweet friend, Nickie, introduced me to the power of couponing a couple of years ago. I've partially participated (when I've felt like it), but now I'm serious about it, and it's actually pretty fun competing against myself each week.

Here are the results of a couple of my outings this past week:
Kroger...
2 4-packs of Angel Soft toilet paper
6 packages of Birds-Eye frozen vegs
2 grill spices
2 Pillsbury Family Sized Brownie desserts
Total spent = $1.96

The picture is blurry, I know...and you can't even see it.
But you have to trust me....$1.96!

CVS this morning....
1 gallon of milk
1 shaving cream
1 hairspray
1 Crest Pro-Health toothpaste
and 1 double pack of newspapers (for next week's coupons)
Total spent = $1.06 out of pocket, with $6.89 in Extra Bucks to spend next time I shop.
I'm not bragging, because I'm definitely not the only one out there who does this. There are many, many, many talented women who do this far more and far better.
But isn't that FUN to know that it CAN be done?!
Another way we were frugal this week was with pure will-power and determination!
We undertook 'THE GARAGE' project today. It was a MESS....a ROYAL MESS!
So we took EVERYTHING out, so we could see what we had to work with.


All clear! Now we can move things around and start over.

We spent the afternoon clearing out, dividing items into "garage sale", "get items back to rightful owner" and "trash" piles. The rest we put back neatly. Hopefully we can keep it that way for awhile! (I'd give you an "after" photo, except that our other 3 piles are currently neatly piled in the middle of the newly clean garage...so it would still look like a wreck to you)

As you know, on any home project day, the last thing you want to do is cook. Or clean. At lunch, all we really wanted to do was go get a hamburger. Easy! (Also, I'm behind on menu planning and regular grocery shopping, so food items to choose from are slim pickins around here!)

We decided to scrape the barrel and eat what we could find. We ended up having a salad with leftover chicken, carrot sticks and fruit. How much cheaper...and healthier...than a burger!

At dinner, we were totally tempted, yet again, to eat out. We were exhausted! And we STILL hadn't been to the store. We scraped the very BOTTOM of the barrel this time and had leftover ham (a tiny bit between all of us), leftover spinach/rice casserole, frozen peas and we all split a sweet potato. We all got filled up...it was cheaper than eating out....we cleaned out our frig...and it was healthier than fast food. We won all around!
I'm encouraged that we chose well in an exhausted moment.
Lastly, I wanted to direct you to a great blog I found today. The writer over at Simple Mom wrote a really encouraging piece entitled The Emotional Benefits of Becoming Debt Free. I found it encouraging and helpful as we plug ahead in our serious quest to "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another..." (Romans 13:8)
Thanks for traveling along with me on this frugal road...and letting me share our journey with you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Breathe.....

Obviously, by the name of this blog, I’m truly interested in living a more simple life. In previous posts, and always in my head, I’ve tried to examine what simplicity IS in 2009. Life is busy. Technical. Fast. Activity-ridden.

I really enjoyed reading Tuesday’s post over at New Every Morning. She spoke what is always on my heart. Slow down. ENJOY life. Play. Simply.

Somehow, I’ve always associated living in the country with simple life. I suppose in some ways that may be true. But oh no…I live in the city…so what now?

This is where I am today on the subject:

Living simply is NOT:
about activity.
keeping up.
doing more and more and more.
having the most well-behaved children, who are involved in everything.
having a model home.
the exhaustion of keeping up appearances.
living beyond your means.
not about WHERE you live.
not even about having a well-read blog (although that would be fun!).

Living simply IS:
about HOW you live.
about relationship.
about being intentional with life.
about being mindful of people.
about loving.
about giving to others.
about sharing your true, authentic heart.
about protecting yourself from getting caught up in the 2009 current of life.
about enjoying the food on your fork, slowly.
about smiling patiently at your 2-year-old who is determined to buckle his own seat belt.
about being content with the blessings you are given.

It’s about daily giving it all to the One who gave it in the first place..and owns it all anyway.

I’ve said before…it’s a state of mind and attitude. I believe that. But now I also believe it requires mindful attention to maintain it.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on what it means to have a simple life in today’s world. Leave a comment, if you’d like. But also enjoy your day. Breathe...and count your blessings!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Psalm 127:3-4



Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.

Monday, April 20, 2009

She Did What She Could.

I am so excited the Lord has allowed me to come back home and be at home with my kids full time. I never fully appreciated that position until I had the opportunity to work outside the home. That drew my heart more completely towards home.

Now, I am here. Excitedly, I can already find myself planning and hoping to be Superwoman and Super Mom, all at the same time. I know me. My heart is so IN IT. I can easily make myself overwhelmed. I put this pressure on myself to pour into my kids lives with well-planned and well-executed daily learning activities, all the while perfectly managing a well-run, clean and frugal household, and serving up perfectly prepared, delicious meals daily, to top it all off. All things working beautifully and synergistically. Sounds crazy as I even say it, doesn’t it?

I wanted to share a beautiful message I heard on Friday by a National MOPs leader, Elisa Morgan, that so profoundly speaks to my heart, at this perfect time in my life.

It’s the story we’ve heard so many times about the night Jesus was having dinner in the home of Simon the Leper. He sat reclining at the table when a woman came in with a very expensive alabaster jar of perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on the head of Jesus.

Some of those present were quite offended by her action, saying it was ridiculous behavior, seeing as that jar of perfume could have sold for more than a year’s wages and the money used to easily take care of the poor.

Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are bothering this woman? What she has done for me is a beautiful thing. You’ll always have the poor around to take care of. You will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on me to prepare me for burial. Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Elisa Morgan was pointing out that one phrase that I’ve read so many times, but obviously read over with no thought to it’s power. She did what she could. This woman loved Christ so much. She wanted to give of herself. She didn’t choose at that moment to make him an elaborate dinner. She didn’t choose to weave him a new tunic. She gave of what she had at that moment, out of pure devotion and love for him. But the Word does NOT say, “she did more than she could”. It also doesn’t say “she didn’t do anything”. It reads, “she did what she could”. How powerful is that?! How freeing is that?!

For me, as a Mom and wife, who long to love my family in such a way that Christ is honored and he is taught to my children, this text is freedom. I do what I can. I don’t do less than I can, but I release myself of the pressure to do more. I will pray each day that God will be glorified in my “doing what I can” today.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Do you hear crickets??

I know I haven't posted in a few days. I've been finishing up my job at Starbucks, and coming back home! So I've been working this week and then SPENDING TIME with my sweet husband and babies this weekend. What a treat!

I'm going to fall into bed now...exhausted. I'll be ready to post again tomorrow! I'm looking forward to it.

Good night.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Pancake Syrup















In light of all things frugal, I wanted to share the recipe for the yummy maple syrup we had on our chocolate chip pancakes this morning.

Pancake Syrup

2 cups warm tap water
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups white sugar
2 T corn syrup
1 tsp maple flavoring
1/3 tsp butter flavoring (optional)

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the water, sugars and corn syrup. Put the pan on the stove over medium heat. Stir every now and then until the syrup comes to a rolling boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Do not stir it for this ten minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Take off the lid and let it cool on the counter for about 15 minutes. Stir in the maple flavoring (and the butter flavoring, if you are using it) Store the syrup in a clean quart canning jar or a clean ketchup bottle (32 oz). Use the funnel to pour the syrup into the containers because the syrup can get a little messy.

If you're interested in this and other frugal recipe and meal planning ideas, go check out
Molly's blog. Thanks, Molly!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Figuring out gender differences....and the perceptions of others!

My four-year-old's teacher in school sent home a notice that kids could bring a video from home to share with the other kids during nap time. While leaving the house today, here is my conversation with Blake....

B: "Can I take this movie?" (holding up THE SUPER POWERS TEAM: Galactic Guardians)

Me: (Realizing that his teacher at his Christian school would probably think I am a terrible mother for letting my 4-yr-old watch such "violent" cartoons, with cartoons entitled things like THE SEEDS OF DOOM or THE DARKSEID DECEPTION or even, God forbid, THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN!) "No, the girls in your class wouldn't like that one".

B: "Can I take The Incredibles then?"

Me: (Thinking "Now THAT's more like it, even though it is still Super-Power-ish, it's more 4-yr-old appropriate...I wouldn't be considered THAT bad of a Mom) "Sure"

B: "Why wouldn't the girls like the Super Friends?"

Me: "Well, I think they'll like The Incredibles more because it has girls in it (staying one step ahead, I quickly remember Wonder Woman is in the Super Friends, so I add...) and a baby in it."

B: "So the SuperPowers is too grown up for the girls?"

Me: "Yes."

B: Thinking for a minute. "Oohhh Mommy, but I KNOW the girls will LOVE the big spider in The Incredibles!!!"

Me: "Yes they will, Baby"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Perfect Imperfection!

Easter was beautiful yesterday. Not only for the most obvious of reasons….Christ is Risen!!
But also, we have some incredible friends that we were blessed to have in our home.

Look at these! Aren’t they lovely??














These are the incredibly thoughtful gift of my dear friend, Connie…and her big-lug husband, John, of course. What a special treat!!!

Look at these! Aren’t they fun??














These are the sweet and thoughtful Easter gift of my dear friend, Colleen, for our kids. What could be better than hot wheels and “Super Chicks” (as they’ve so rightly been named)?! An additional blessing is to have friends that love our kids well.

These ladies, husbands and families are what helped to make our family Easter PERFECT.

The IMPERFECT part was this:
My spiral cut ham, although tasty, was luke warm.
My deviled eggs were horrendous! (Note to self…stick to Mom’s recipe…don’t try new recipe)
My homemade ice cream never “iced”….something went dreadfully wrong.
My house was not spotless clean…in fact, it was quite the opposite!

But in spite of all the hospitality faux-pas, the day was lovely…just BEING with friends. It so didn’t matter. All that mattered was conversation and sweet fellowship.

I did, however, make two really great recipes, shown below.

Have a perfectly imperfect week, full of love and real friendship!

Lemon Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 T lemon juice
1 T grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
GLAZE:
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, lemon juice, and lemon peel. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to batter, alternatively with milk. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over loaf while still warm.














Recipe courtesy of Lynn. Thanks, Lynn!

Strawberry and Spinach Salad*
3 T sesame seeds
1 T and 1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup and 2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T and 1 1/2 tsp minced red onion
15 ozs. fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
6 cups strawberries, cleaned hulled and sliced
1/4 cup and 2 T almonds (or walnuts)
crumbled feta
Red onion slices (for top)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

*the quantity here is a lot...can reduce ingredients.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is RISEN!!! Matthew 28: 1-7

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow....The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mark 15:46


So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Luke 23: 44-46

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining....Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Things to come...

I haven't posted in a few days....

I've had company in town and I've been working late hours at Starbuck's. But the truth be told, I've been sorting out some big decisions for our family with Bill and the Lord.

As you know, Bill and I made a life change and I went back to work 20+ hours per week. If you've read any previous posts, you will know that we are determined to pay off debt! We just knew that was the answer to our prayers.

Now we're making another life change....
We've decided I need to be back home full time.

If ever I doubted, or misunderstood, the value of a full-time wife and mother, I don't now. That job...that position....is so vital. My boys NEED their Momma to pour into their lives. If I'm tired, or emotionally unavailable or just plum NOT HERE, how can I do that? Bill also needs me. In order for him to do his job well... the job he loves and is so good at....then the home needs to be the least of his concerns. Home should be a place where he gets rested and can go back out the next day to slay dragons!

NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG.....I know that Momma's all over the globe work outside the home...and do it exceptionally well. Some don't have a choice. I completely understand that.

I am thankful that I have the privilege of being at home and I am realizing that God did not wire me to be a worker away from home. He has given me a heart for the home...and all things domestic. So, working outside the home has been very challenging for all of us.

So here I am, working my last two weeks. I pray I finish well. Yes, the debt is still there. Now we must pray and trust God even more. But....

This post is mostly about looking forward to the future. My sweet husband told me that after April 22nd, my full-time job (in addition to our children) is to SAVE us money. I am thrilled beyond belief!!! THIS energizes me!!! How fun is THAT challenge?!

There are some exceptional blogs and sites out there. There are tremendous resources available. I can't WAIT to see all the fabulous ideas; to learn new techniques and homemaking skills; and to "get to know" some of the best of the best frugal homemakers!

Stay tuned. I hope to share some great ideas with you along the way.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In the daily life of Mom...

I thought this poem was cute!



IF YOU GIVE A MOM A MUFFIN…

If you give a mom a muffin, she’ll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She’ll pour herself a cup.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She’ll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she’ll find dirty socks.
She’ll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she’ll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She’ll look for her cookbook (”101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger”).
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She’ll smell something funny.
She’ll change the two year old’s diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She’ll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are…
If she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

by Kathy Fictorie

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Perspective

It's all in how you look at a situation.....

video

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Connection over coffee

I had the absolute PLEASURE of having coffee with a friend of mine this morning, whom I haven't seen since my wedding almost 7 years ago! She and her family lived across the street from me when I was growing up. Now, many years later, we connected again and met for coffee.

What an amazing "God thing" it was!
It's really fun to see God connect people, at just the right time.

We are two women who each:
(1)Love the Lord
(2)Want to serve him wholeheartedly
(3)Are both praying fiercely for something we know only God can provide
My prayer: Release from burdensome debt! God has immensely blessed her family in financial ways. Her story is amazing! God intervened in a rare and mighty way to help them out of a financial crisis. It happened in the blink of an eye! Something I haved dreamed about and can only hope and pray for. And something I can very easily be jealous of, if I'm not careful.
Her prayer: A child. God has richly blessed my family with two gorgeous boys. My story may not be magificent, but my children are God's gifts. She has been unable to conceive. I have something that she dreams about and hopes and prays for. And something she can very easily be jealous of, if she's not careful.

I wonder why God has reconnected us for such a time as this? Perhaps we can understand the depth of each other's longings. Maybe we can show compassion at a level others may not understand. Or maybe we can be a reminder to the other of God's blessings that are so easily taken for granted.

Whatever the reason may be...and I trust Him that there is one... I'm sure it will be something that teaches us more about Him. And I thank Him for the gift of friendship.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pancakes....and voices

We are a pancake-eatin' family. We love them! So we're constantly trying out new recipes. My new favorite is a Whole Wheat Pancake recipe, courtesy of Crystal at Money Saving Mom. (The picture is Crystal's, too.)

We covered our pancakes this morning with strawberries, powdered sugar and maple syrup! They were utterly delish!

But it was during this yummy breakfast that yet again, God taught me about Himself.

My boys...precious as they may be, ARE, in fact, 4 and 2. As with any 4 and 2-year-olds, they say the word "Mommy!" a lot. A-L-O-T!

They also ask an abundance of questions. Many times the exact same question I gave them an answer to only 3 short minutes ago. Those of you who are Moms know exactly what I'm talking about!

Their voices are super cute. Tiny little voices I KNOW I'll miss down the line. But for now, sometimes it's like listening to long, sharp nails on a chalkboard. Merely the repetitiveness of it is too much for my nerves at times.

As I played the 101 question game this morning while preparing pancakes, I thought..."Does God ever feel this way about me? Do I just ask him the same old questions over and over and over again? Do I even stop and listen to his answers?"

And then I thought, (shriek) "Does he get irritated with me, too?"

That gentle voice somewhere inside reminded me....no...God loves to hear from me. I'm his child. I'm so grateful he never tires of hearing my voice or gets irritated by my questions. He is always gentle and patient. However, I'm certain he DOES want me to listen, just as I desire my own children to listen to instruction.

And then it dawned on me....my boys CONSTANTLY call my name because they want me to converse with them. They WANT me to be in relationship with them. They know my voice. It's comfort and reassurance to them. My voice tells them how much they are loved and cherished. My voice is safe.

What if we never spoke? We wouldn't know each other's voices! How tragic would that be.

In the same way, God desires relationship with me...and I desparately want (and need!) relationship with him. I'm glad we talk often, so I know his voice.

So, I sat...smiled...ate pancakes with my boys...and listened to the incessant talking and questioning. And adored it.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

3 cups whole-wheat flour (or a combination of whole-wheat/white)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 beaten eggs
3 cups milk (you can use buttermilk or sour milk)
6 Tablespoons oil

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir together just until moistened. Add additional milk to thin batter, if necessary.

Cook on a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Makes approximately 20 standard-sized pancakes.

(Thanks, Crystal!)