Mary and Martha and humble pie

Mary and Martha and Me

When I Was a Turkey

Several years ago our family tried a Thanksgiving experiment.

Instead of buying our Thanksgiving dinner, we only priced it and sent the amount to a mission.

We then asked God to give us a meal from His own hand that we could see was especially from Him. In our minds, it had to be cost-free, although this wasn’t a demand—we simply decided to see what He would do about our commitment. We were willing to take whatever He gave….

I know, I know, God gives us the strength, intellect, and grace to be able to earn the money, drive to the store, and so forth.

But we learned something from letting go of it like this: He can also sovereignly give us the actual food itself, just because we are waiting upon Him. This caused us to be thankful toward God as Jehovah Jireh (our provider), rather than wondering what in the world He has to do with our celebration.

The experiment became a kind of tradition for a few years. Each year was different; it was not always turkey and stuffing. We had chicken, duck, venison, and my favorite, the smoked turkey that appeared one day while we were gone.

Meat was always the test for me because I did not consider the free things from our garden as “too hard” for God.

See what I mean?

I needed this.

Everything about cooking Thanksgiving dinner this way was a big adventure. We had to improvise, learning as we went. We felt, indeed we were, exactly like pioneers.

We pretended Good-Old-Days, but they were, in reality, very good days.

We certainly were excited about all sorts of food and I think we ate better. The meat often was not processed. We had honey instead of sugar. And we were so thankful. We couldn’t help it—it just flowed from all that was happening.

Another unexpected result came of the experiment.

We questioned the entire “Thanksgiving Tradition”.

  • Sweet potatoes did not have to be candied, did they?
  • Whipped topping didn’t have to be fatty.
  • Crab applesauce was as good as cranberry.
  • The chestnuts off of our tree were excellent in stuffing.
  • Squash pie tasted just like pumpkin.

We learned to take our local blessings, instead of exotic imported foods, and spread them out into a feast that gave glory to the God Who provides for His own.

And more blessings! 

In our excitement, we also forgot to be harried. I, at least, emerged on the other side of the wall that separates us from gently rejoicing in God. He seemed so near. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Most of the United States was celebrating a day that, when it was established, in purpose and practice, was truly Christian. Thanksgiving has no questionable past. It has traditionally had no worldly festivities attached to it. It is simply a day set aside for our Christian nation, by its Christian leaders, to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

go-your-way-eat-the-fat-and-drink-the-sweet-and-send-portions-unto-them-for-whom-nothing-is-prepared-for-this-day-is-holy-unto-our-lord-nehemiah-8-10-1Into that quiet beauty, I had often inserted the bustle of a worldly attitude.

Suddenly, His delightful indulgence was leading me away from my prideful ideas about meal preparation. How humbling it was to be learning at His feet, and yet, how glorious.

It doesn’t matter if you use the recipes you will find, on this site, for “your dinner”, or even if you go to someone else’s house for it. It doesn’t matter if you buy or raise the ingredients. But do learn to spend time before God. And truly thank Him. Every day.

______________________________

Katharine is a retired home educating mom who writes about all things “woman”, from a Godly viewpoint, here on this site, and at The Conquering Mom.  Her writing appeared in several magazines for 15 years, and she is currently working on several books. She loves to write, speak, teach, cook, garden, spoil her hennies, and watch old movies with popcorn.

Rest and relaxation

For the Rest of Your Life…

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. Matthew 6:10

I used to feel a little guilty pulling that one out. I mean, there are plenty of Christians who pull Bible verses out of context, just to get what they want! Don’t need more of them!

But isn’t it true that quite often, we moms just would love a nap? Yep. And when Mr. Sandman is beating you around the head and shoulders with his sandbag, Bible verses about rest just seem so true!

So, pull, I would. I remember the first time I realized Jesus was telling his men to take a nap. Arrgh! I never wanted to be part of any Bible story more than that one. Well, unless it was walking on water . . .

But even that would definitely have to be after a nap!

Then one day I realized something about that verse. I realized it is a command . . . and OH, MY! did it work on my sense of self-worth!

The way the story goes, Jesus called his men aside and told them to rest because they’d not even had time to eat.

Yet the questions always come: How!  And will they let you?

Can you relate?! I certainly can!

Those hectic days when everything piles on top of everything else are exactly when we need to remember the command is to back off.  Of course, we cannot leave little ones unsupervised while we take a nap, but it is possible to slip into a restful mode and feel How to Get an Amazing Rest from a Crazy Busy Daythe refreshing that can get us through ’til the end of the work day.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. R is for RETREAT. No one will take you seriously if you keep on puttering in the kitchen or shuffling papers. If you don’t quit, you will never get there! Find an easy chair or couch or even a bed and make it look like you mean business.
  2. E is for ENJOY. No fair feeling guilty! Besides, a guilt trip is not restful. Tell yourself you need this and so do they. Smile and close your eyes. Sip a favorite drink. Get to another place in your imagination, if only for a few minutes.
  3. S is for SET A TIMER. Your appointment with rest is important. Make it a good fifteen minutes and make it inviolable time, too. Turn the phone off, give interrupters that blank look, and hush anyone who forgets this is your set time. The timer also assures you won’t over-do it.
  4. T is for THANKFUL. Tell your heart this is a God thing. Every minute is worth cherishing. That lovely feeling of having rested will take you through the rest of the day and even prolong the rest of your life. This is so good; love it for what it is worth.

It may not seem do-able, but you can do it.

Even taking a few moments out, just closing a door for one or two minutes, can make a difference in how we perceive things and how we respond.

It’s a command . . . Okay to obey!

Chocolate

Brush Your Teeth With Chocolate!

Okay, I know this is not dentist-approved, but let’s think about it a while. Has anyone out there ever tested it?

Thought not.

Well, I have. If I’ve just eaten, or if my mouth is less than satisfactory to me in any way, I love using chocolate for an emergency remedy. My teeth will feel cleaner, my breath will be far better than garlic, and I won’t get such a slump after eating.

Also, it is more pure, FAR less doctored with chemicals than most chewing gum.

Now, I don’t mean all the cruddy little desserts that claim to have a bit of chocolate in them. Most confections are pure sugar, another thing altogether from pure chocolate! I’ve been brought up in the United States, where it is possible actually to grow weary of sugar.

Chocolate is not sweet. You can find chocolate that has very few grams of sugar in it, like those pictured above. Mostly it is out of kid reach in the stores — it is adult chocolate, after all. To apply it, just break off or open one square, usually about 10 grams.  Chew it. Enjoy it to its fullest.

Most serious chocolate has lecithin and cocoa butter, which make the teeth slick. Germs do not cling for quite a while. Also, chocolate, itself, contains the following wonderful benefits: caffeine (which helps you be lively), theobromine (which lowers blood pressure, lessens edema, lowers rate of birth defects, and is patented for research in cancer prevention), and quite a few antioxidants. The germs don’t stand a chance.

The trick is in stopping at just one piece.

It’s worth a try, I say.

But use regular toothpaste, etc., just before bed, if at all possible.

Are You Preparing to Vaccinate?

Vaccinating?

Our government tells us babies need vaccines to be safe and healthy. The reality is that there is a level of risk in giving vaccines and the CDC is fully aware of the risk. Many parents accept what they are told. Others question. Some families have differing opinions on the need for vaccines with one spouse in favor, and the other opposed.

If you are considering giving your child a vaccine for any reason, please do a few things first:

1. Delay as long as possible. The older a baby is, the better; the heavier a baby is, the better. Vaccines are known to cause more damage to younger and lower  . . .

Read the rest of this highly informative, well-researched and non-combative article here!

What to Do When Your Child Won't Eat, How to Make a Child Eat

Kid Hacks: 6 Helps When a Child Won’t Eat

Eating hindered by milk?You know one.

Or you’ve seen one.

Maybe you have one, or even were one.

It’s such a challenge to the mom, to get good, health-giving food down into picky tummies.

You wonder if this child will be damaged by such a bland diet as potatoes and milk, the only two foods he really likes.

You wonder, also; over and over—what to do, what to do.

So, here we go, The Answers You Need:

1. Is this child around four years old?

The child walking through his fourth year is typically not growing much. You know: growth spurts. We think he’s not growing because he refuses to eat, but it’s the other way around. The fourth year is tough on kids. They don’t grow, they suffer emotional fears and imagined rejections. And someone is always chasing them with more food!

The solution I’ve found very helpful is to put only one bite of everything offered at the meal on the child’s plate, and require cleaning his plate. After that allow whatever seconds he prefers. Also, keep the drink cup out of reach to be handed to him for sips, to prevent what my mom used to call “drinking your meal”.
In this way,
—the tiny bit he does eat will have some balance to it
—drinks will be used to fill gaps in the tummy after a bit of yummy solids are in place, first.

2. Is this child lacking vitamins?

Well, of course, probably, right? The thing you might not know, though, Mom, is that as a child’s digestion slows, so does the amount of nutrients in his body. But then, oh bummers, there are certain nutrients which actually boost a person’s appetite. So we find it a vicious cycle that not eating diminishes nutrition, which diminishes appetite.

The obvious solution, once you think of it, is some fun, mild vitamin made especially for kids. I’d hop on that at once, if I had a low volume/picky eater.

3. Next, have you spoiled his appetite?

What to Do When Your Child Won't Eat. How to Overcome a Picky Eater.Ooh, I do not like this question, either! However, when hunger strikes, a child can be so dramatic and we let the drama push us around. We hand off a graham cracker or something to pacify this emotional child, which makes him not hungry at mealtime, which makes him hungry before the next meal, which . . .

Solution? Okay, so just don’t allow snacking. My mom used to tell me that her mom used to tell her to take a big drink of water and put out the fire. This dilutes stomach acid, truly quenching that burning feeling we so glibly call “starving!”. So the child is hydrated but still able to summon hunger when the meal is served.

4. No offense, but really, is the food good?

If it’s not home cookin’, that could be half the problem. All that stuff we buy in a box and nuke, like Jane Jetson, isn’t really food. Oh, it says on the label that it’s food, but if we read closely, we see that probably all the non-pronounceables in the package also add some sort of flavor. The microwave definitely does something to texture, believe me. We’ve been lied to, but children are experts at sniffing out fakes . . .

For a lovely solution, try cooking, once, to see if that fixes the problem. Add a pinch of salt, and maybe a slight slick of real butter. You might be surprised!

5. Even better yet, teach your child to cook.

Cooking the food transfers pride of ownership and true appreciation to the child’s heart. I remember when our daughter prepared her first, ever, entire meal. We sat down to eat and she told me, “Now I know, Mom, why at every meal you always say, ‘It feels so good to sit down.'” Ah, the sweet sound of appreciation! And attention to the duty of complimenting the cook by eating!

Letting the child cook or even help cook is its own solution.

6. Meal planning!

The child who is taught, not only to cook, but also to meal-plan with good nutrition education in mind, will become more adventurous in food choices and acceptance, by nature. An amazing government document entitled Nutritive Value of Food is available as a pdf and allows easy research for a balanced diet, including recommended daily minimums.

I have found it a constant. It is such a joy that when a child discovers, for himself, that a food has nutritive value. He becomes more dedicated to liking it. Yes, that slight attitude change can make that much difference, enough to be a solution to it all.

Okay, there you have it!

I’ve tried all six of these tacks with my little (and not-so-little) picky ones and they all have learned to cook real food and to love when someone else does. They like almost all foods and even know how to take the “one bite” (from when they were four, haha) to show politeness. Hope you find something in this to help you down the road to raising better eaters, too!

Oh, and please add to these ideas for all of us, in the comments below, if you want! Thanks!

Do you live where tornadoes happen often?

Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but down...
Tornadoes are extremely rare in Utah, but downtown Salt Lake City was struck by this F2 tornado in 1999, which killed one person. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe I should ask, “Do you live in the United States?” because the U.S. has the most tornadoes in the world.

You thought so, didn’t you!

From 1950, when we began to keep official records, here are the 10 states that have the most tornadoes per square mile, in order of greatest to least.

  1. Florida
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Illinois
  5. Mississippi
  6. Iowa
  7. Oklahoma
  8. South Carolina
  9. Alabama
  10. Louisiana

Surprised? Me too. However the states that have the most notorious tornadoes are not all up there and some of the above states have lots of teensy tornadoes that don’t do much. Your highest chances of experiencing the most damaging tornado are in the following five states:

Alabama, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, or Oklahoma
They’re all tied for first.

Scared yet?

Okay, I publish this annually in one form or another, in hopes of allaying some of your anxiety about this life and death topic. This year, it’s just a list of links, but if you search “tornado” in the search window above (click on the magnifying glass for a nice surprise) you will find a few more curiosities on the subject.

Pay attention and live:

How to Prepare for Tornado Weather

Ten Steps to Tornado Safety

Story of My Tornado Experience

Story of a Stranger Who Borrowed Our House in a Tornado

A tornado near Seymour, Texas
A tornado near Seymour, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)