Thursday, March 29, 2018

Kill Them With Kindness

by Brie Gowan
Used by permission

I was driving down the Florida Turnpike at 70 mph. Palm trees lined the side of the road, a lavender sunset displayed behind them, and Will Reagan on the radio. I should have been enjoying such a lovely ride home, but instead I was stewing over an incident at work. Like many times when a personal interaction doesn’t go as planned, I found myself replaying the conversation mentally, but in my head I always said something clever, when in reality I had remained dumbly silent. So as I contemplated a conversation in my mind that never actually occurred, I baked in my frustration over having been treated rudely.
For the third day in a row women at work had acted condescending to me, and as I sat in my truck going over the scenario again I felt the Lord pulling at my heart. As if grabbing the string of a balloon, He pulled me back down to earth, working to calm my spirit, and He whispered to me a motto I actually lived by.
Kill them with kindness, He said.
And I knew that was the thing to do.
I don’t know about you, but I frequently encounter people who just seem to hate life. They’re the ones with the sour look on their face, the sighs that say “why are you bothering me,” and the rolling eyes that proclaim they’d rather be anywhere but where they currently are. I’m not sure why, but when I see these kinds of obviously unhappy individuals it’s like I get excited. A part of me says “game on!” When I meet someone with a grumpy disposition it’s like I yearn to make them smile. I want them to be compelled to be happy when I’m around, and so begins a journey to squeeze a smirk of a smile from a sourpuss. Challenge accepted.
I always think back to a particular situation I encountered like this. At a hospital where I worked there was a lady in the kitchen who just seemed to hate life. She was always frowning, and if you tried to ask for some food she would look up at you with glaring eyes that made it seem like you asked for her firstborn child. She always looked so put upon, so frustrated, and like she would rather be anywhere than there. I’m not sure about you, but for me it’s nice to be served with a smile. It makes me feel good when I encounter a friendly person at a drive-thru, or a kind voice on the phone. A smile goes a long way, but I understand you can’t always get what you want in life. Still, in this situation I simply felt bad for this woman. She was obviously unhappy. So I decided to try and turn her day around.
It probably took about six months of consistent, friendly banter before I coaxed a half, upturned smirk from her lips. Months of conversation, jokes, smiles, and honestly interested questions about her day occurred before I saw a glint of cheer in her eyes when I engaged her on a friendly level. In the end she would always smile when she saw me, give me an extra portion of fries, and ask about my kids. She’d go back to frowning as I walked away, but it made me feel good to draw a smile from her face.
She ended up quitting the job she obviously didn’t enjoy within the next year, and I only found out when I arrived in anticipation of our weekly interaction, but instead found a new, smiling face in her place. The interesting part, though, came about a year later when I was leaving the local grocery store. As I pushed a cart of groceries and little girls to my van I heard an unfamiliar voice behind me. I turned and was surprised to see a full set of shiny, white teeth beaming at me across the lot. It was my long lost, lunch buddy, and she grinned ecstatically as she came towards me. We chatted for a while, and she updated me on her current life. The most surprising part came when she hugged me goodbye. An honest to goodness, affectionate hug.
What if I had countered her grumpy countenance with indifference? What if I had seen her as a lost cause? It seems to me most angry people are simply unhappy, and what’s wrong with trying to inject a sliver of kindness into their day? It doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. It doesn’t mean I’ll repay bad treatment with bad treatment of my own.
I’ll kill them with kindness.

Friday, March 23, 2018

When Did We Stop Letting Kids Be Kids?

I know I’m not the first person to have taken notice of how much the education system has changed over the past 10-20 years. Most people within my age bracket, who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, can see a huge shift from how things were when they were little compared to how they are now. I can recall being in kindergarten in California very well. I got out at noon, and I learned how to tie my shoes. We took naps and played with clay. We got to have fun, be creative, and learn how to treat others. We were allowed to be normal five year olds. My question is, is that changing?
I’ll be the first to admit I’m no expert on the public school system at this current time. I do not have my children enrolled in the public school system so I can not rely on personal experiences. What I can rely on is observation of friends whose children are. So this isn’t written from any expert platform, but rather simply an opinion based on interactions with my parenting peers. It’s also not a dig at the public school system in particular. This is actually my concerns over public mindset nowadays. When did we stop allowing kids to be kids? And when did we start expecting more from children than they are developmentally capable of achieving?
Over the past five years or so, and since becoming a parent myself over seven years ago, I’ve noticed the concerns voiced of other mothers around me. I see their questions, their searching for camaraderie and advice, their fears over if they’re doing it right, doing right by their children, and making certain their child can measure up to the standards set by the tribe at large.
I see and hear conversations like:
“Does anyone know what my preschooler needs to know before they start school?”
“My daughter never went to pre-K! Is she going to be terribly far behind?!”
“Looking for a good learning app for my two year old. What do you recommend?”
“Is ABC Mouse worth the money per month?”
“What kind of books can I buy for my four year old to get him ready for school?”
“My five year old can’t read! What are we gonna do? Are they gonna hold her back?!”
“What’s the best pre-k program out there? Who do you recommend?”
“I can’t seem to get my daughter to do her homework!”
And you know the kid is five.
“My son can’t be still in class! I think he has ADHD!”
And you know the kid is five. Or six, for that matter.
I see so many concerns over reading fair projects (that the parent totally completes), mediocre grades, worries over too many sick days taken, and so much more. I see moms cry when their five year old gets on the school bus far too early, without enough sleep, for a nine hour day, that most of the time no longer allows a nap midday.
I see friends worried over their second grader’s math scores, and I wonder if we’re perhaps a bit too concerned? Now, I’m all about education. I hold a higher degree, and because of that I have chances in my career I would not have had otherwise. I love to read, and I think an extensive vocabulary and proper grammar is a positive attribute to hold. But I wonder if we’re taking it too far, too soon?
For example, in some westernized countries children do not begin formal education until age seven, and I can totally see why. Four, five, and six years olds are still deeply discovering the world around them. They’re learning to deal with their emotions and interact with others. They’re creating relational characteristics that will help lay the foundation for the kind of adult they will be. They don’t need adult stress; they have enough to deal with in the way of child stress. There are so many unknowns, lessons, and daily discoveries they are making. We really don’t need to impede on that too much.
For young children learning should be mostly about play. They should be seeing that learning is fun, that discovery is adventure, and that it’s not a race to achieve, a box to check, or a test to complete. Reading should be for pleasure, not a painstaking chore, and this is something I had to understand early on in the education of my own children at home.
All kids are different, and they learn differently. Young children like to move around, their attention spans are short, and the older child box we try to squeeze young learners into isn’t the best for their development in my humble opinion. We as a society shouldn’t be so stringently expecting three years olds to know all their ABCs and 1,2,3s, or requiring prerequisite goals to be met prior to kindergarten. I could be wrong, but to me it seems that five year olds must know much more in school than they did when I was five. My question is how much better is a child for having this knowledge sooner? Are their career opportunities really that much more available if they can read by five or six instead of seven or eight? And who made these new gold standards? Who decided little kids that barely reach their teacher’s waist should be doing homework pages after an already too lengthy day?!
Maybe I’m too relaxed. Maybe you think I’m off my rocker, or that my kids will end up making nothing of their lives. I guess I’m just wondering who decides what outcome is worthwhile? Perhaps every child won’t go to college, and that’s okay. Some children may become neurosurgeons, while others will prefer an apprenticeship in a technical field. Isn’t that ok too? Will sitting five years olds in a desk for eight hours to complete worksheet after worksheet really produce the best outcome for future academic excellence? I say, hogwash. I say, let them be kids.
I say, let them run. Let them stand, sit, jump, and play. Let them discover the world around them. Let them ask questions, and be available for the answers. Let them observe their surroundings and create conclusions. Gently guide those experiences. Let them nap! Let them sleep in! Let them do structured, sit-down work for short bursts of time, and throw away the homework! Let their brains absorb all they can, but then also allow them time to decompress and unwind. Allow them the time to process all the new things they’re taking in.
But most importantly, we need to check ourselves. We need to stop worrying if our preschooler is at the right reading level, or if they’re measuring up. They’re three and four years old, for goodness sake. They have the rest of their lives to worry about deadlines and schedules. We need to stop creating this invisible yardstick that our young children must measure up to, or we’re the absolute worst parent in the world! Who cares if Michelle’s precious daughter can read already?! She also eats her boogers and pushes other kids in line!
Here’s what your children under seven absolutely need to know to be successful in this life:
They need to know how to love others.
They need to understand compassion.
They need to see the hurting, and help those kids.
They need to treat others like they would want to be treated.
They need to understand there’s more to life than their own backyard, that they’re not the most important kid in the world, and that they will mess up. For that they’ll just need to fess-up, say they’re sorry, and learn from their mistakes.
They need to know that their parents love them, are proud of them, and that they are unique. That they’re not held to a state standard, a society standard, or an unrealistic standard.
Again, they’ll need some reinforcement to treat others well.
Perhaps if we focused more on these things at an early age and less on perfect phonics and addition then there would be a lot less bullying in schools. Maybe we’re focusing on all the wrong stuff. Have you ever watched little kids when you let them loose on a playground? Like when they’re around four or five? Sure, there may be some problems sharing, but more than that is this amazing ability to coexist. When my kids go somewhere in public they’ll quickly make friends with children they’ve never met, regardless of color or socioeconomic background. There’s no judgement. There’s no preconceived notions. There’s just pure, human interaction in its best form. All children are born that way. But we as parents and society beat that out of them. We show them that things that aren’t really that important are important. Then we teach them that the important things don’t really matter. It’s like we pick calculus over compassion, and we drain the passion and natural tendency to explore the world around them right out of our children. Most average seven years old will know how to read, but they’ll miss the words on the sign of the homeless man on the street corner.
What really happens when we take away the childhood of our children? We take away their childlike faith and compassion. Then we replace it with all A’s on their report card and a first place ribbon in the science fair.

Is Satan Stealing Our Families?


This past year I read a book with my daughter called Little House in the Big Woods. You may be familiar with it. It’s the first book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and it began the popular Little House on the Prairie series. I don’t recall reading it before, and as I read it to my five year old, I think I enjoyed it even more than she did. Something about the way the family lived, it intrigued me. I love my internet tremendously, but the simplicity and closeness this family shared sounded really wonderful to me. The idea of working together for each other drew me into their little world. Many times as I read the pages aloud I yearned for such a time as the ones described.
I look around today and I wonder if we wouldn’t be better taking a step back in time where we could focus more on important matters, and less on trivial ones. I see the things around me that cause so much unneeded stress, and I truly believe that the principalities and powers of darkness wish to destroy what God has created. God favors families. He favors love, time together, and focus on cultivating those relationships. What I see today is in direct opposition of that, yet those things have developed slowly over time, so much so that we don’t even notice them deteriorating the fabric of family.
Our pre-teens and teenagers are so absorbed in their Snapchat and Instagram that they can’t even come up for air. Not that we notice. We’re buried in our Facebook newsfeed or hottest new game app.
The normalcy of public school education with its ever increasing curriculum demands are swallowed like good medicine. The school year gets longer, testing increases, and hours of homework creep into the family time. So children that already spend 8-9 hours away from home are spending their evening hours doing more projects, reports, and extra credit assignments.
Mom and dad are too exhausted to help much. They’re tired because they’re putting in more hours. Dual working parents are the majority. And while the cost of living has definitely increased over time, I wonder how much of our “necessities” are truly that? We work more to be able to buy more, yet we hardly have time to enjoy all our purchases. We save all year long for a week long vacation that leaves us exhausted and in need of a day off from our off days.
A lot of our hard-earned money is spent on activities. So. Many. Activities. We spend more time driving to activities, purchasing gear, costumes, and accessories for our activities, or working on our off days to raise funds for our activities. Activities where we watch other people teach, coach, and mentor our children. Is this the time together we’re craving? Makes you think.
Time together doesn’t cost a dime
If you had to sit down and add up how much quality time you spend alone with your spouse, what would it be? What about your children? And not time doing and going. Just time. Is it less time than you spend on your weekly commute to work?
It makes you wonder if divorce is more prominent today because it’s become socially more acceptable, or could it be because we’re spending less time enjoying the company of our spouse? Would children get in less trouble if they had a present parent/parents available to guide them? They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m wondering if we’ve taken that too far. Now we just want the village to take care of them. And then when our children fall down and fail we can have teachers, coaches, and the church to blame for their demise.
This is hard stuff to think about. It’s taking everything we’ve called normal over the past few decades or more and realizing that it’s actually destroying the family unit. Our kids are playing ball 3-5 times a week until 10pm, and the parents are working 60 hours a week to keep designer duds on the kiddos lest they get bullied for wearing WalMart brand clothing. Everyone has a TV in their room, a cell phone in their pocket, and a brand new car in the drive-way yet none of that will go to Heaven with us. We’re working very hard providing material possessions for our children, when in all reality we should be on our knees with them leading them to a closer walk with Jesus. Eternal life is what we should want for our kids, not the best education money can buy. And while I’m all for giving them a bright future, I don’t want to give them the world if it forfeits their soul. When my grown children look back on life I want them to have memories of time well spent rather than spending all the time. I gotta work on this! I don’t have it all figured out either, but I’d like to think my eyes are open enough to see that Satan wishes to destroy us.
Satan wants us tired, worn thin, and stressed. He wants us in debt up to our eyeballs, and our health failing because we can’t sleep enough, eat right, or handle our stress effectively. He wants husbands and wives fighting over finances, disrespectful teens who learned how to treat their parents based off Nickelodeon sitcoms, and thousands of young children sexually abused by the adults we’re so quick to place our trust in. He wants us busy, but not productive. He wants our plates full, but our tank empty. He wants us looking to society for what’s best for our families, not God’s word as a lamp to our feet. He wants the family unit ripped apart, and many times I look around and see us letting him. We’re not even trying to take a stand.
I’d like to believe that it’s not too late. We can still fight to save our families. Perhaps it all comes down to stepping out in wisdom, courage, and truth for our family. In a world that’s so busy Keeping Up With the Kardashians, maybe it’s time to be a Little House on the Prairie. What do you think?

*Of note, this isn’t meant to offend anyone. It’s just meant to trigger thinking about it. I’m certainly a work in progress.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Frozen Organic Lemons: Natural Remedy for Cancer, Blood Pressure, and Anxiety

by Nancy Marlow -- Used by permission

Earlier I posted an article regarding the value of lemons to our health, with some benefits better than chemotherapy! Someone asked me to post the results when I did it. So here goes . . . 

Wash an organic lemon very well and then freeze in a plastic bag. When completely frozen, grate the entire lemon. You can use the grated lemon any way you want - sprinkle on ice cream salad, or any food you like, add to smoothies, or make lemonade.
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The article said that lemon peels contain compounds that are a thousand times more powerful than Andriamycin, a drug found in chemotherapy. The lemon peels only act on the malignant cells and do not damage the healthy cells. Chemo, on the other hand, destroys the malignant AND healthy cells. Lemon peels also can eliminate feelings of anxiety and irritability and can help regulate blood pressure.

To try it out, I made a small bowl of oatmeal, sprinkled a teaspoon of lemon peel on top, along with three drops of Stevia. I loved it! My daughter also made us an omelet for breakfast. I sprinkled a teaspoon over my eggs and added a little goat cheese. Great! Before you wrinkle up your nose (as my daughter and granddaughter did when I told them what I had done), try it yourself!

I put the grated peel in a small container and then put the rest of the lemon into the food processor with a little water. Then I put the pureed lemon into an ice cube tray to freeze for lemonade.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time-Saving Kitchen Tip - Garlic

by Lois Breneman

This tip will save so much time and you will have freshly minced garlic readily available to measure out for your meals when you are tired and busy.

I stumbled upon this bag of fresh peeled garlic at Walmart and grabbed it, knowing how I hate to peel garlic.  Even using the garlic press for each recipe is time consuming and can be messy. 

So today I got the idea to put all the peeled garlic into the food processor with a sharp blade and let her rip!  Instantly the garlic was minced! 

I store freshly minced garlic in a glass jar with olive oil in the refrigerator.  It has never gone bad for me.  Then when a recipe calls for minced garlic, there is no need to go through all the motions of peeling the garlic, using a garlic press, and cleaning it.  Just spoon out what you need!

Friday, September 8, 2017

It Happened Here: A Small Halt

by Sheila Petre
Used by permission

                My friend Abigail was running across her lawn sometime last year and something happened to her foot. The doctors are still unsure of a diagnosis, and she lives with pain and an inability to walk on her own two feet comfortably.
                Abigail is cheery and friendly, and has a great sense of humor. When I met her a few weeks ago at the parent-teacher meeting, I talked with her a while. Was she still suffering from that foot? She was—she had it propped on a wheeled knee-rest.
“The lengths,” I said, “to which some people will go to get out of gardening.”
                She laughed, obediently, but later I regretted my words. I am not a born gardener, but I needn’t assume everyone shares my reluctance in the field. It’s an attitude problem for me, I fear. When writing or editing, I have had moments of needing to force myself to stay in my chair until I am finished. Why can’t I be so disciplined about Gardening? With its relentless do-it-today-or-regret-it-all-winter, and even-if-you-work-your-hardest, you’ll-never-be-finished-in-August, and are-you-sure-you-should-read-while-you-feed-the-baby-since-that-means-it-takes-longer-to-feed-the-baby, gardening, if I looked at it as I do writing—a privilege—could be more manageable.
                Strawberries are in, after all—a little early this year. Raspberries swell in the other garden—and cry for weeding, mulching, and tying up. We picked strawberries Friday evening, and the children helped. They helped cap some, too. I chocolate-covered a few quarts, and made another few into strawberry Danish for Sunday lunch, and took a few in disposable containers to neighbors. Ah, that’s the most fun of gardening—giving away the excess. Mrs. Paylor, a small beautiful white-haired lady smelling of Avon, thanked me most profusely, and said she would make me a shortcake—would I like a shortcake? She uses her grandmother’s recipe.
                How could I refuse?
                Saturday was comfortably busy, with cleaning up the house, getting clothes ready for Sunday, capping berries, bathing children and keeping children happy. And then there was Mrs. Paylor at the door with the shortcake in a covered cake pan, strawberries decking the top in a bed of whiteness. “The recipe calls for meringue,” she said, lowering her voice, eyes twinkling in a shared-secret camaraderie. “But I cheat. I just use”—almost whispering—“Dream Whip.” I gave her another portion of strawberries, and was still smiling when I closed the door on the aura of Avon.
                We had the shortcake for supper and it was delicious. Fresh food, for free—can’t I love summer’s busyness, too?
   Now I have another dish to return. Earlier in the day, I had eyed the stack of empty pans and bowls on the bookshelf in the front room. We had to return these dishes, which church people had brought, full of food, after Stephen was born.
                I don’t like to return empty dishes. I schemed about what I could put in them. Roses, that’s what. At a writer’s meeting in October, every plate had a carnation beside it, in a little plastic bud vase with a rubbery top which kept the water in. I saved the vases to use—and this would be perfect. I could put a single rose into every stack of dishes, and Rachael could solicit the help of one of her friends to deliver the dishes back to the owners on Sunday morning.
                I sent the children to bedward, fed Stephen and laid him on the bed. I had time, I thought, to slip outside before dark and pick those roses. I filled a pitcher with water and grabbed the shears.
                I would wear my black clogs—but I could only find one of them. I went after my boots. They were inside the kitchen door, where I had not left them; we have trouble with Borrowers around here. I love my boots. They are fuzzy inside, and have a wee wedge-heel. I’m too tall to wear much of a heel, usually, but I like to wear heels. Wearing these boots makes me feel as though I can conquer anything. Michael looks at them skeptically, saying someday I’m going to hurt my ankle wearing them—the sole is too narrow.
                Michael was in the garden, planting beans. I waved. Navigating the clutter of bikes and wagons on the driveway, I moved onto the lawn, almost marching, very happy. I love the feel of those boots!
Halfway across the lawn, my narrow heel came down swiftly, sideways on a knot of ground, my ankle turned under my weight, I heard—or merely felt—the small snap of a sudden yielding, and I pitched headlong onto the grass.                
This was what upset me first: I spilled all the water. The pitcher flew from my hand as I fell and there went all that water, wasted.
This was what upset me second: Michael did not see me fall. I hoped he had, that he would cry out to ask if I was okay, and come quickly to the rescue, and make consoling sounds upon arrival. I laid there face down only a moment, and then rolled onto my back and looked in his direction. He was still planting beans. I watched him coming down the row toward me. Anytime now, he would look in his wife’s direction, casually, a hint of admiration in his eyes as he watched her picking roses in the cool of the evening.
Not once. He kept dropping the seeds in the furrow, nearer and nearer, not looking over once. I sat up.
Get over the dramatics, I told myself. Stand. Pick up the pitcher of water, and fill it at the pump—you won’t even have to go into the house for more. You can tell him the story later; nothing heroic about it.
Except that when I moved my foot, I drew in a deep breath and held it, until the pain subsided. Surely I could get up—but I couldn’t. Michael reached the end of the row, dropping beans, and turned to go back, dropping them in, dropping them in. I watched him casually, a hint of admiration in my eyes.
And I thought about what I had said to Abigail, with even more regret.
“Hey!” I hollered. He didn’t hear me. I hated to call him from his work as night fell, but the children were alone in the house, and now it was getting colder, sitting on the ground. I waited till he finished the row, and then I hollered again. This time he heard me, and came.
With his help, I stood, and discovered that if I put my foot down just right, it didn’t hurt at all. But if I tipped it the least bit outward, pain screamed from my ankle. He carried the empty pitcher and I took the shears. I held his arm. I limped—I could not help it. And limping is not fun. I like attention when I hurt, but not constant attention. Limping, when I do it, feels affected; it draws a constant attention to myself that I detest. (There’s a lot to be said for limping; I haven’t the time or energy to explore it now. But believe me, I thought about many aspects this weekend.)
I woke at three Sunday morning to feed Stephen, and could not go back to sleep for an hour. What if my ankle was broken and I had to wear a cast all summer? I wouldn’t be able to get out of gardening—I would garden anyway; Michael would expect me to if I could at all manage—and being unable to do it would be the incentive I needed to want to do it. What would my family eat this winter if I didn’t garden? Would I want them eating food others worked for while I sat in my chair? No. This would complicate things. What would I do? Why hadn’t I been thankful for my good health? For being able to walk freely, confidently, in boots or out of boots?  
By daybreak Sunday, my ankle was swollen—not much, but a little—and hurt, especially after use. Mostly, I was wary of carrying Stephen while I walked, lest my foot let me down, as sometimes happened. Michael took all the children except Stephen and Laurel to church, and Rachael delivered the dishes empty of all but good intentions and little notes that said “Esther,” “Luella,” “Bethany,” “Jeanine,” and “Rosalie.” Laurel and I played half a game of Scrabble; I put ice on my foot for a while in the afternoon, and by evening, felt much better.
As of Monday morning, I have decided my ankle didn’t break; I only sprained it. There is still some swelling, and a bit of tenderness, but I have a little more range of movement in my foot, allowing me to walk more easily, and even go down the stairs one foot down and then the next foot further down, instead of with the toddler method of one foot, stop, bring next foot to same level.
I see I will not, after all, be able to get out of gardening this summer. Just my luck, to be laid up over the weekend and feeling better by Monday, I would have thought last week—but this week, after yesterday’s pain and that (abominable) limping, I am absurdly grateful.
Lord willing, I get to garden this summer! I was out with Michael and my sister-in-law, picking berries at dawn this morning. Now I have the 16-18 quarts to cap. I might pray while I do it. My prayers will be thankful ones—I have work to do, and the health to do it.
Remind me of this in August.

Sheila J Petre
Our May: watching tadpoles and water plants swell in a gallon jar on the kitchen counter; treasuring the fragile moments of Stephen’s newbornness; eating the last of the peas…green beans…and raspberries in the freezer; counting the days till summer vacation and fresh peas…raspberrries…and green beans; flinging open the windows to Spring

The Five Worst Foods for Arthritis

5. Gluten (Fibrin)

4.  Processed Food (French fries, corn, soybean, omega-6....)

3. Blackened and Barbequed Foods (Grilled foods - blackened)

2. Nightshade Vegetables
Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant

1. Sugar
Cookies, candy, ice cream ......

Precious Gems

Ruby's (5) description of how the eclipse will happen today... (in a very excited voice)"He (God) is going to take the moon, and place it over the sun without His hand even getting burned!!!" 
She said, "I found this frog in the pool filter and I kissed it and it didn't turn into a prince...what a rip off!"
Read about Miriam and Moses' trust in God for devotions tonight....after the pharaoh refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt and all the water turned into blood, the land filled up with frogs and gnats and the hail killed all crops.  I asked the girls, what do you think they were going to do?!.....
Lindsey: (raising her hand) Easy. Frog legs and leftovers.   

Preparing for Hurricanes

by Debbie Klinect -- Used by permission

Do you know what season this is?  If you said "summer," you are right.  But that isn't the season I am referring to.  It is officially hurricane season.  Yesterday it rained off and on all afternoon and evening.  I decided to watch the evening news to see what the weather man was going to tell me about the rest of this week and it was more of the same.  Apparently there is a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico causing all of this and it will be here for a few days.  He said that the hurricane center is not calling it a depression but they are watching it to see what is going to happen.  This brought to my mind a conversation that my husband and I had a few years back and so I thought I would take this time and share our conversation with you and what has come out of that conversation. 

Like so many Floridians, a few years back I had a very cocky attitude about hurricanes.  Living in the Orlando area, I just didn't see the reason for all the fuss - we never get hit by hurricanes here.  I have experienced a hurricane before in September, 1979 - Hurricane David.  We were in Merritt Island when David hit the Cocoa Beach area.  I was 5 months pregnant with our first child.  My husband, Kurt, decided that he had heard enough and we sat down for a serious talk.  He wanted me to understand that it was a fact that we, in Central Florida, would probably never get hit by a hurricane. 

BUT, we had other serious issues of concern.  Winds from the hurricane can be over 50 miles an hour as far inland as we are AND hurricanes are famous for spawning tornadoes.  We live in an area with many old oak trees and with winds at that speed, that was a great concern.  Also tornadoes cause so much damage, taking out homes, power lines, and busting water lines.  So even though we don't live on the coast and have the potential of hurricane damage, we do need to be wise and prudent. 

That year I got out the hurricane check off list and went shopping.  I took $5.00 a week from our paycheck and bought canned and boxed goods one week, disposal dinnerware and things another week and so on.  Hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th so I had many weeks of collecting things.  If we were blessed to not have to use the food items I bought, we would donate them to the homeless shelter here in town during their Thanksgiving Food Drive.

I'd like to share with you what we have done over the last few years.  We have a hall closet that we have dubbed the Hurricane Supply Closet.  We don't use the entire closet, just the bottom floor area.  Like I said, starting the beginning of June, I start purchasing items from the Hurricane Supply list put together by Channel 9.  We get paid every other week so I take $10.00 out of that money and get canned and boxed goods and batteries, and whatever else is on that list.  Coming out of our paycheck like this isn't the big blow that it usually is to people who are running to the grocery store to get whatever they can when they hear a storm is on the way. 

Another thing we have done is when we are finished drinking our milk and large bottles of juice, I immediately clean out the plastic container and fill them 3/4 full of water.  We have a water purification system in our home so we fill the jugs with purified water.  I then put these containers into my freezer.  This way we have lots of frozen jugs of water that can be used for drinking.  They also act as ice packs for our coolers when we need to keep perishable foods cold.  Over the years I have come up with recipes that would be good food for my family and also something that can be stored well.  Just going out to buy canned goods isn't any good if you don't have a plan for them.  I'll include my recipes at the end of this article for you.

 Being a homeschool mom I got to thinking about how the hurricane season could affect my homeschooling.  As far as school goes, I am one of those moms who likes to have all her ducks in a row at the beginning of summer. I know what books I'll need and what we will have on hand.  Since there is still the possibility of us in the Central Florida area having to go to a shelter of some kind I decided that I needed to have a homeschool moms supply list.  I presently homeschool two lower elementary children but have also had high schoolers in the last few years.  Through much sitting, pondering and prayer I found a solution to this potential problem.  I have a medium sized suitcase with wheels.  I looked at our school books and supplies that I had on hand for the upcoming school year and decided to go ahead and pack everything in this suitcase.  This way I could take it with me and not worry about having to replace anything if we had to evacuate.  My reason for this was to not have that added expense of having to replace everything. I also have an old diaper bag that I have kept from our last child, that I fill with small travel games, coloring books, colored pencils, plain paper with clip boards, and some fun books to read.  This would be used to keep my kids occupied.  I don't let them pack electronic games because these take batteries that might be needed elsewhere.

Tips on Saving Time and Money:
* Start to buy things from the check list a little bit at a time.  A downloadable guide can be found at
* If your child is in diapers or pull ups, start to put aside a few of those each time you purchase a package of them. This way you won't have that huge expense if a storm is on the way.  Stock up on extra formula.
* Clean out your old milk jugs and large juice bottles.  Fill them 3/4 full and freeze them.
* Buy an extra pound of ground beef when you are grocery shopping.  Brown it and freeze it.
* Look at your school supplies and have them in an area where you can grab them quickly if needed
* Fill an old diaper bag or back pack with games, coloring items, puzzles and paper and have it in an area where you can grab it quickly
* Make sure that you have an ample supply of needed medicines on hand.  Stock up an extra month's worth if you can.
* Keep your gas tank about half full at all times.  Those gas lines are horrible if you are trying to get gas in order to get out of town and it won't cost you as much to fill your tank.
* Start to put away two or three dollars a week in a Hurricane Cash Can.  Money is always needed at this time and you might not be able to get to the bank to get the cash you need.  Purpose not to spend this money until hurricane season is over. 
Hospitality - It is not healthy, nor is it thinking of others to have the attitude about hurricanes that I once did.  I have come to learn that not only is it a good idea to be prepared but that the Lord could use me in the lives of others during this time.  Several of our friends and family live along the coast of Florida and there are times that we have extended the invitation for them to come and stay with us when a storm seems to be approaching their area.  Opening our home that the Lord has given to us has been a huge thing for our family.  We LOVE having visitors!!  To help with sleeping arrangements, we have purchased a couple of full sized blow up mattresses and since we have 8 in our family, we have many sleeping bags.  If in the event that a family needs to stay with us, I do request that they bring their own pillows, since we don't have an abundance of those.  If your house has five bedrooms like ours does, or it is small and has three bedrooms, the Lord can still use you to have a safe refuge for those needing it.  Be in prayer about what the Lord would have you to do to keep your family prepared and a refuge for others who may need your help. 
Recipes - In One or Two Pots
If you have frozen meat in your freezer, you'll want to use this meat up first.  Here are a few recipes for your frozen meats.  I'll add meatless recipes afterwards.  We have a camping cook stove with propane cans that we keep ready during hurricane season.  
Chili and Brown Rice ~ Two cans of spicy chili beans, two cans of Great Northern Beans, one large can of diced tomatoes, one pound of browned ground beef.  Put all this in a pot and cook over medium-low heat.  In another pot, boil two cups of water.  When water is boiling, add one cup of brown rice.  Cook covered for 45 minutes on low heat.  Serve the chili over the rice to make a filling dinner.  Feeds 6
Spaghetti ~ Cook a 16 ounce box of spaghetti according to directions on the box.  Drain the spaghetti and add a pound of browned ground beef and one or two cans of already made spaghetti sauce.  (I use canned during this time so we don't accidentally break any jars). Feeds 6.  Serve with any bread you have available.
Autumn Chicken ~ Brown chicken breasts in a little bit of oil. When browned on both sides, drain off the oil. Put chicken back in pan and top with a can of green beans (that has been drained first) and a large can of sweet potatoes (drain half the liquid first).  Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat.  Serve with any bread you have available. 
Beef and Broccoli ~ Slice roast beef into strips and brown in a little bit of oil.  Add two cans of tomato soup, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, stir well.  Add the broccoli flowerets and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring often.  Serve over brown rice.
Black Beans, Rice, and Chips ~ In a pot, bring two cups of water to boil.  Add one cup of brown rice, cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes.  In another pan, brown chopped onion, diced green pepper along with 1/4 tsp. of cilantro and 1/4 tsp. cumin.  Add two cans of black beans and one can of corn, drained.  Stir and cook over medium/low heat for 20 minutes.  When the rice is done, put a small pile of it on a dinner plate.  Top rice with black beans.  Top this with salsa.  Eat with Taco Chips. 

Cowboy Soup ~ In a large pot put a large can of diced tomatoes, small can of tomato sauce, four cups of water, two cans drained potatoes/green beans, two cans drained corn, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, dash of pepper.  Cook over medium/low heat for 30 minutes.  8 servings.
Brown Rice ~ My friend, Lois Breneman, shares that you can cook up the brown rice ahead of time and freeze it in portion-sized bags.  That way it is already cooked and all you need to do is warm it up a bit in your skillet or microwave if you have power.
Some Canned Goods and Staples I Also Buy ~ Campbell's chunky soups, Ramen noodle soups, tuna, Ravioli, peanut butter, honey, crackers of all kinds, dried fruit, bagels, canned nuts (unsalted), juice in boxes, snack bars (Balance Bars, Cliff Bars from health food stores).  Add to this list whatever your family likes.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

3 Ways the World Will Try to Indoctrinate Your Kids, and 3 Bible Verses You Can Pray Over Them


The world my kids are living in is radically different from the one I grew up in. When I was a kid, there was no internet. There were no cell phones. No Facebook or Twitter. No one I knew owned a computer. If I wanted to find something out, I had to go to the library and check out a book, or consult my parent’s encyclopedia set. In the '80s, it was fairly easy to settle into your church and community and not hear much from the outside world. I wasn’t particularly sheltered, but still I had never heard many of the sophisticated intellectual objections to the Christian faith until I was an adult....and I was not prepared with answers. But the one thing I DID have—I had praying parents.

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