Easter Plans and an Easter book review

The other day, my oldest told me she was going to scream out “Easter is here!” when it finally arrives. She said she would announce it to her siblings and then she listed off each pet by name. It’s fun to have kids so I’m not the only one all excited to celebrate the holidays. 🙂  I wish there was more non-bunny Easter decor available.   We go all out with decorating for Christmas…when He was born….but there are not many options available for decorating for Easter…..when He ROSE FROM THE DEAD. (Sorry, I just think that’s a much bigger deal!)

The little ones and I started our Easter readings and activities today.  We started with the Triumphal Entry, and will be reading a section of Scripture and doing an activity most days during the next two weeks. Today we made palm branches and used our Nativity figures and some toy soldiers to act out the Triumphal Entry. We also read The Colt and the King.

The kids loved acting out the story! I’ll be posting on Instagram as we go through the activities. You can follow there if you’d like.:-)

 

(Notice our disciples look strangely like Wise men!)

Our favorite mail around here is when new books arrive, so we were very excited to receive this beauty in the mail!

Easter is Coming! is a delightful board book with soft padding and bright colored pictures. It tells the story from Creation, to the prophets, Jesus’ birth and life, while pointing out that everything in Scripture leads us to the Resurrection. I love how it encompasses the whole story and not just Easter! Here’s my favorite part from the book:

“Because Jesus died, all our sins can be forgiven. And because He rose, we can live with Him in heaven! You see, God always knew, and now you know too…that’s why Easter is coming!”

How amazing that since before our world was created, God already knew He would need to send his Son and have him rise from the dead! In this book, God’s plan for Easter is emphasized on each page.

What are your plans for Easter? What traditions do you have? My daughter and I were eyeing all the pretty baskets, treats, eggs, etc that are filling the stores right now. Their bright colors looked way more cheery than the dreary “hunker down inside” rain that is coming.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

PS. I received Easter is Coming as a complimentary copy from BH Kids/Lifeway Publishing. The opinions are mine, and I would put this on a favorites list for kids. 🙂

PPS. There are affiliate links included in this post which make it easier for you to find the books listed if you so desire. 🙂

Advertisements

Spring and monthly goals

Hello! We are super excited that spring is finally here!  As soon as the sun started shining, we went outside to soak it up!  Today, we were out noticing where the tulips are starting to poke up their green shoots. It’s so fun, having kiddos who love nature too!

Here’s an update on my goals this year:

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist HomePeter Pan, and Sacred Holidays.

I’m currently reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Faith by Chuck Smith, The Life Giving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson,  Mother Culture by Karen Andreola, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver/Kingsolver/Hopp.

Wow, when I list them out….that sounds like a lot!  One is an audiobook that I can listen to while working in the kitchen, and Farmer Boy is our family read aloud.

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books.

Update: She has loved doing the preschool books she received for Christmas from her aunts!  I’m amazed at what skills she is picking up!

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered some books to give me some clues.

Update:

I was excited to try out my tree identification book at my parents’ place.  While I hadn’t used this book before, it was fairly simple to follow the steps to narrow down these trees. The top one is a Douglas Fir and the bottom one is a White/Blue Spruce.

From what I understood of the animal tracks book, these were rabbit tracks. But I found that section a little confusing. If you have any pointers or recommendations, please pass them this way! I’d like to be one of those smart nature people, but I’m just a mom with a book.  🙂

My husband and the internet had to help me identify this one…Juniperus Virginiana.  This was collected on our last nature hike.  I didn’t have time to figure it out before the group left me, so I had to grab a branch to research when I got home.

Again, if you have any pointers or recommendations….please let me know. I just want to be able to say more than…”And that’s a tree, and that’s another tree, and that’s a tree….”

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: I cleaned out 4 cupboards, and the kids’ books.  That’s progress, right?

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update:

These buttermilk biscuits were amazing!!  The cast iron pan added a special toasted crunchiness to the outside layer. They were so flaky and just melted in your mouth! They were utterly moreish!

I found the recipe here.  They were perfect to go with our chicken pot pie.  Mmmmmm!

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: There’s empty space in there!

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: We made “guitars” with cereal boxes and rubber-bands.  You guys…..this was better than any store bought present!  The kiddos loved them, and they were utterly adorable ‘playing’ their guitars and singing Jesus Loves Me!

What have you been up to?  Share in the comments section.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Taking my little and making it enough

The thing about people is we make messes….a lot of them. Somehow, when we added the third little one to our family, the laundry doubled and the dishes tripled. I don’t know how, but somehow everything is dirty all the time. I hate dishes. They are like weeds in the garden…..no matter how many you pull there are some more waving at you in a matter of hours. I can never just mark it off the list, like I can vacuuming. Couple that with trying to keep the little ones healthy, fed, bathed, entertained, out of trouble, educated, and cuddled….and it feels like a lot.

One early morning, the baby decided that sleeping through the night wasn’t fun anymore, so the two of us headed downstairs to find her milk and hopefully not disturb the sleeping family members (admittedly, I was jealous of them being able to sleep). As I waited for her to eat, I started feeling the weight of raising these little ones and the work in caring for them. I knelt by my chair in the wee morning hours and told God I didn’t have much to offer. Try as I might, I was not super-woman. No matter how much I got done, there was always at least one more chore begging for my attention.

God began to remind me that he is the master of taking little and making it enough. In the gospels, we read of the little boy who willingly gave his lunch to Jesus. Clearly, he didn’t expect it to be sufficient to feed 5,000 people….but Jesus made it enough. (John 6)

In Luke, we read of the widow who gave a couple of coins while everyone else around her was giving bags of money. Jesus said her gift was worth more than the rest because she gave all she had out of her poverty. It was her heart, not her amount. Jesus made it enough. (Luke 21)

The prophet Elijah asked a widow for food during a famine, though she only had a little bit of flour and oil left for making their last meal. God blessed her offering, and neither the flour nor oil ran out during the whole famine. (1 Kings 17) God made it enough.

In my ‘to be read’ pile, is a book by Sarah Mackenzie called “Teaching from Rest”. In her book, she talks about offering our ‘little’ like the small boy offered his little lunch. There’s a lot of things I can’t do, but I can bake bread, I can read to my kids, and I can send encouraging text messages. I can offer up my “little.

God makes it enough.
What ‘little’ do you have to offer? He is sufficient. The house will never be completely clean, there will always be more I could teach the kiddos, and even while I’m marking off projects, there is more being added to the list. But……He is sufficient. He takes the little I have to offer and makes it enough.
Let’s offer Him our little together.
Sojourning with you,
Felicia

 

Sacred Holidays and tomato soup

Here we are dealing with flooding and waiting for our yards to be filled with mud as we await the promise of spring. Spring’s sunshine waves at us to tease us, then tosses more snow and ice our way. All this back and forth weather makes one want to huddle inside to finish a good book until the seasons finally make up their mind!

Speaking of books, I just finished Sacred Holidays:Less Chaos, More Jesus by Becky Kiser.  In her book, Becky calls us into intentional living throughout the year by taking some time to think through the holidays. She offers a range of ideas from simple journaling and reflecting, to more complex neighborhood parties. Becky covers New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Lent/Easter, Summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent/Christmas, and Birthdays. She also deals with the topics of personal expectations, family drama, budgets, grief and cultural expectations.

I appreciated her pretty well rounded approach to each holiday, and how her main focus was on loving people well and taking time to be still and enjoy each season. This is written as a workbook, with plenty of space given to create a mission statement, answer reflection questions, and make a tentative plan or bucket list for each holiday. Becky encourages the reader to take baby steps and not try changing everything at once.

This book is meant to be a resource guide, and not a how-to manual.  Since my kids are so young, they feel like it’s a special day if we just play board games or go to the park.  The point isn’t to ‘do, do, do’, or to have another thing to stress over.  Rather, the goal is to be intentional with our time so when the holiday/event is passed we can look back with fond memories at time well spent.

As you read the book, you can pick and choose which ideas are good fits for your family.  I liked the ideas of helping kids set goals for the New Year, having a thankful tree at Thanksgiving, having a summer bucket list, and reading through certain Scriptures at Advent.  With Easter/Resurrection Sunday coming next, I made a list as I read through that chapter. My kiddos would love having a “He is Risen!” party, as they love anything with special food, streamers, and where we ‘party’. 🙂 Time passes so fast, that Easter/Resurrection will be here before we know it!

Along with reading books, we’ve tried some new recipes while we wait for the seasons to fight it out. Last night, my husband made a yummy pineapple smoothie!  I’m hoping tomorrow to experiment with another tomato soup recipe.  The last one tasted too acidic on it’s own, but went well with mozzarella cheese. I’m hoping to try either this recipe or this recipe that calls for a bit of heavy cream. I have many canned tomatoes waiting to be experimented with.  Do you have any recommendations?  I’d love to learn to make a tomato soup that even my husband will eat. 😉 (He likes tomato soup, but homemade doesn’t always taste as good as the canned kind). This fits into my goals of learning to make ‘all the foods’ and of using up my pantry/freezer ingredients.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

PS. I was thankful to receive this book at no cost as part of the Bethany House Publishing book review program.  The review was my own reflection on the book.

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Living with intentionality and an update on my goals.

This last weekend, we completed our second successful road trip! We’ve taken others with the littles, but the travel time was not so ….”successful”. Our magic button this time was the DVD player gifted to us by friends, that kept them calm for our 6 hours in the car Saturday. My husband and I actually got to…..(gasp) talk! This gives hope for future road trips. 🙂

One of the things we discussed is how our baby will soon be too big for her bassinet, and need to move in with her siblings. How can my baby be this big already? I wish the house would just clean itself so I could snuggle the littles all day everyday as they grow way too fast!

The problem with her growing so fast is we currently don’t have room for another bed. We have two small rooms for the two kiddos which also function as the office and nursery. So some creative arranging and downsizing must happen within a month or two. Eeek! This is definitely my area to grow in! I’m not good at letting go of things. It also means I must be focused with how I spend time, as daily life must be juggled with preparing for this next stage.

I love this verse from our Bible study this week 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind refers to a secure, sound, disciplined, calm, self-controlled, prioritized mind. Definitely what I need with these littles and preparing for each stage of their development! Did you also notice that it says “God has not given us a spirit of fear”? Remember, my word this year is courage, courage to act or speak what is right without fear of approval. I ‘waded into the waters’ with speaking at our last mom’s group, and next week I’ll take another step as I share the devotional to start our meeting. I’m excited and nervous this group is still new to me. God is so faithful to bless those steps when we obey. Last week at our co-op, I got to pray with a mama who was doing some medical testing the next day. Life is too short to live quietly, without making deep connections with those around us.

Here’s an update on my goals this year:

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist Home and Peter Pan.

I’m currently reading Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser. It definitely makes you think about holiday expectations, and living intentionally and with grace. I need to read faster though! There’s three books in route to me that I couldn’t resist!

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books.

Update: We’ve been working through our letters with practice sheets, videos and games. Today we were working on letter I.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered this book based on a recommendation from a friend.

Update: Now, the trick to being able to identify things is… I have to read the books. (sigh, there’s never enough time to read all the books I want) Hopefully this summer I can practice identifying plants/animal prints.

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: I have a box in my closet where I stick things to donate. It has a couple items in there.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update: So far I’m learned to make yogurt, bread in the dutch oven, homemade cream of chicken soup, and my husband has made pretzels. I’ll have to share those photos in another post.

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: I’ve been using up containers from the freezer, and tossed some things out today. My husband has been watching YouTube videos of a British chef which has inspired us to be more creative with our meal plans.

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: We haven’t done anything big yet, besides our ‘school time”, nature journals, and birthday/Valentines day cards.

How about you? Where have you used courage lately? Have you made progress on a goal? I’d love to hear! Please comment below!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

2nd book of the year and breath your own oxygen first.

I’m feeling hopeful for completing my reading goal this year. Especially, since I just downloaded our library’s reading apps which give you access to tons of e books and audio-books that you can “check out” without even leaving your house! I just finished reading/listening to Peter Pan, the original version. It is sooooo not like the Disney version!

I was surprised by the violence in the book, and honestly read parts of it very fast hoping my preschooler would miss those details. We are doing a book study for our co-op, and have some fun activities planned to celebrate reading the book as a group.  (ideas for character costumes anyone?)  But us moms learned a lesson: Review the book before choosing it for our group book. I ended up listening to the rest of it, then telling my kiddo a summery of each chapter. I think we’ll watch the movie before the party to gain a better picture of the whole story, without the violence and extensive details. The original version is very, very, very detailed and can get kind of long to read especially in the first couple chapters. That being said, it was interesting to note some things about human nature: most all of the characters longed for a mother to care for them (even if they were tough), we long to be needed, our pride gets in the way of good decisions, and we love adventures.

I’ve been trying to be more disciplined with reading my own books.  Otherwise, I get to the end of a week and realize I’m still on the same page I was last week! 🙂 Life….it has a way of sneaking past us!  One of the many habits I need to develop is taking a few moments each day for something life giving. In the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy world, it’s called ‘mother culture’.   It’s the idea of reading books, participating in hobbies, etc to feed your mind/heart.

On an airplane, the emergency instructions remind us to put on our own oxygen mask first before assisting others with theirs. If we don’t have that supply going, we won’t last long to help others.  Admittedly, I have not done well in this area. It’s so easy to run around busy, caring for everyone’s needs while neglecting my own. Then I get to the end of the day, and feel wiped out and cranky. I have nothing left for them, because I spent it all without receiving any input. It’s been so cold here, that I went outside to run my van for 10 minutes so the battery wouldn’t die. When I came in, I commented to my husband that those 10 minutes were the most alone time I had experienced all day. 🙂

Here’s some life giving habits I’m trying to develop:

1. Read Bible/prayer time in morning: this habit has been my daily routine for years.  But as my oldest likes to start the day between 6:30 and 7:15, I’m reminded that this must be FIRST in my day if I hope to have it be a quiet time (without preschool chatter in the background).

2. Drink more water: I’m not good at this. Do you have any tips for me? Today I’m trying out my new fruit infuser water bottle and hoping it’s more motivating.

3. SIT DOWN to eat lunch with my kiddos, instead of snacking while I continue house projects. This calms my mind (pausing for a moment) and feeds my belly.

4. Choose something ‘life-giving’ as soon as the 3rd kiddo goes to sleep. The margin of time between getting the last kiddo to lay down for a nap, and when the 1st kiddo wakes up from their nap (also known as the ‘magic hour’), can be short. So if I want to do anything ‘life-giving’ (write, read, organizational project, etc), I must be intentional with that time.

How about you?  What personal habits or boundaries do you have to make sure you are not running on empty? Please share!

Sojourning together,

Felicia

Making “all the things”: yogurt and dutch oven bread

Since one of my goals this year was to learn to make “all the things”, I wanted to share a couple of things I’ve been learning this year. There’s so many diets, food plans, ‘magic tricks’, and promises of this or that out there.  It’s all confusing and sometimes contradictory to each other. I decided my food goal is to to eat real food. You know, the kind that you can grow or raise.  The kind that God made, not the kind grown in a factory and that has a really long unpronounceable name. 🙂

One thing I’m super excited about is learning to make my own yogurt! And it’s super simple.

Tools:

Pressure Cooker with yogurt function

Thermometer

Ingredients:

1 gallon of milk

4 tablespoons of starter (plain yogurt with active cultures) (I use the leftover whey from the previous batch for mine, so I use more)

Dump the milk into the pressure cooker. Press the yogurt button to it turns to boil mode. When it beeps, check the temperature to make sure it reaches 180 degrees. (I use the saute function afterwards to help it reach 180 since my boil mode doesn’t go that hot). Then remove the lid and let it cool down to about 110 degrees. This will take around an hour. Whisk in the starter, put the lid on, and press the yogurt button.

Walk away and come back in 8 hours for yogurt.  If you want greek style yogurt, then you can strain it with a dishtowel or cheese cloth to separate the yogurt and the whey.  Pureed fruit makes great toppings for homemade yogurt!

A gallon of yogurt costs me $2 and I can pronounce all the ingredients!

(pictured: homemade yogurt and dutch oven bread)

If you want easy bread that doesn’t require any kneading or a bread machine, then dutch oven bread is for you. It reminds me of the bread from those Italian restaurants that you dip in the olive oil mixture. It has a tougher crusty texture, perfect for dipping in sauces.

This recipe came from A Mindful Mom, but you could probably google many different variations of it.

Tools:

Ingredients:

2 cups of warm water

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of yeast

3 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour

Mix all the ingredients together and let it sit in a covered bowl overnight for 12-18 hours. In the morning, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place the dutch oven inside to preheat. Dump the dough on a floured surface, and shape into a ball. When your oven and dutch oven are preheated, drop the dough in the center of the dutch oven, and place it in the oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool before serving.

The most magical part of cooking and baking is seeing your little ones enjoy your creation. Last night, my son was dunking his dutch oven bread in his homemade chicken dumpling soup. 🙂

How about you? What are you experimenting with in the kitchen? Or what new food did you try at a restaurant this week?

Comment below and let me know!

The way to big things is little steps

The way to big things is little steps….but oh, how those steps are tiresome!  I’m sure I’ve written about it before, but it’s been on my mind again. I want big things!  No, I don’t have dreams of climbing mountains (though the view would be amazing) or founding my own corporation.  My goals are a little more…..plain.

Honestly, the biggest goal each day is to survive with all the littles and pets in a healthy condition, and to not have the house torn apart when my husband gets home. And then if I have time for something extra, I’ll attempt something from the goal list for the week. But survival…that is the basic goal. 🙂

This last week, it was so cold in our house due to below zero weather, that we were baking, cooking, pressure cooking etc to warm things up.  My kiddos love “helping” me bake, so I had a step stool and kid seat situated so they could be up at the counter. Dumping in ingredients and mixing it up are their favorite parts. This time I let them put muffin batter “into” the muffin pans. Notice that I said “into”…because when you give a two year old a spoon and tell him to put the batter “into” the pan….it will go everywhere on  the pan in his attempt to get it into the pan! All the while he’ll keep telling you in his sweet little voice…”Make! Make!”

Honestly, my husband questioned (and the thought crossed my mind) if it was worth it to let the kids help make the muffins due to all the mess that ensued. But the way to big things is little steps. If I want my kiddos to be capable helpers in the kitchen as they get older, then it starts with learning basic steps now. Stir gently, put the batter in the pan, pour slowly, and lots of waiting.

We all want to be the big ones, the ones people write stories about. But do we ever stop to think about how much little is in the big?  How many stones had David practiced throwing since he was a little boybefore his famous stone hit the big giant?  How much time did Mozart or Bach practice before anyone knew who they were? How many normal, everyday people impacted the lives of George Washington, Martin  Luther King Jr., and Billy Graham over the course of their lives to help them achieve great things?

The way to big things is through little steps.

 

If I want my little ones to be able to care for their own homes someday, then I let my toddler drag the kid size broom around “sweeping”.  I have them help put away the kid dishes, set the table, put away laundry, etc. Clearly, it’s much faster, neater, quieter, and less stressful if I do it myself. But if I don’t allow for the time consuming little steps to happen, the big goals will never be achieved.
If I want to finish 10-12 books this year, I need to read this page today. If I want to lose the postpartum weight, then today I’ll eat some vegetables. If I want to grow in knowing God more, then today I’ll read my Bible. If I want follow Jesus’ path for my life, then today I’ll ask Him what He wants me to do.
When I taught school, we celebrated each small bit of growth as a big accomplishment. There’s a lot of little steps between counting to ten, and double-digit division. We had to break it down into small steps, that built on each other until you reached the big goal. Each small accomplishment meant you were further down the track to where you needed to be.
Life’s greatest achievements are broken into a series of little steps and small acts combined with perseverance. So often I feel overwhelmed looking at the big picture and wondering how I’ll ever get there. But the secret isn’t some magical program you can buy off the shopping channel.  It’s in small steps combined with great perseverance.  It’s in faithfully doing the mundane.

PS. Those muffins turned out great!  So I’m hoping that the kids’ character will turn out just as wonderful with time. 😉  Little steps, guys….little steps.