1 comment | published by Linda | October 06, 2010
She wanted to see. She knew her eggs were cooking, but the knowledge alone just wasn't enough. Not being able to overcome her curiosity, she grabbed the handle of the pan and attempted to peak at what was inside.

She proceeded to pour eggs all over her body. Thankfully, they weren't hot enough to burn her skin, yet the experience definitely burned a lesson in her mind that she won't soon forget.

We know better, yet sometimes our knowledge isn't enough. We grab the handle, and we learn.

He doesn't make up rules to keep something from us, but to protect us, and to offer us joy.

The eggs are cooking. Leave the pan alone.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: The Eggs are Cooking
2 comments | published by Linda | September 03, 2010
Running to meet me after school, he had much to tell. A field trip to the fire station filled him with stories that carried us from the parking lot all the way back home. The excitement seemed to build as we stepped inside. He had to show me how to stop, drop and roll. He spent the rest of the afternoon stopping, dropping and rolling. If there was a fire, he knew what to do.

This evening as I was busily putting dinner together, I listened to stories of their day, solved arguments, encouraged tired, frazzled emotions, and held my crying daughter. I had two wrapped around the bottom of my legs, and one with arms wrapped around my waist. Crazy filled my kitchen. Mom was needed by all...all at once. I knew I needed to put my full attention on them alone.

Remembering the techniques he taught me years ago, I stopped, dropped and rolled. Running to the nearest bed, I flopped down in the center. Within seconds, I had one son on my right, one on my left, my little daughter on my stomach, another sitting on the foot board, with my two oldest sitting nearby. It was a mom pile. There was a fire, and I knew what to do.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Play Room    |   Tags: Stop, Drop and Roll
4 comments | published by Linda | April 13, 2010
Ephesians 5:20
"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

While wiping down the kitchen counters, I noticed a sticker on the floor. Bending down and scraping it off, my two year old came running in the kitchen shouting, "Holdju!" As she climbed on my back, my twelve year old walked in continuing a conversation we had been in an hour ago. Discussing who she should invite to the mall, my two year old was hanging from my neck. Walking slowly, but curiously through the kitchen, my six year old walked passed me as though he was definitely up to something.

After solving my twelve year olds dilemma, my seventeen year old hopped up the stairs announcing his hunger. Again, my six year old passed by me, but this time with only his pants on. My two year old, still clinging to my back like a monkey was now laughing hysterically. My nine year old asked a question about his report on Texas from around the corner as I finally had success with that sticker.

My fourteen year old daughter came and dropped a pile of books on the kitchen sink, and sat at the barstool. She began to explain the tales of her day. Off to the side, I noticed my six year old walking even slower through the kitchen, but this time, only in underwear with a mischievous smile across his face. I was noticing a pattern, one that would need to be stopped.

This wasn't an instance in my life, it is a picture of my life. Multitasking and multi-tracking are not options, they are survival techniques.

How should my heart be? Thankful. I've found that thankfulness is filling, just like how my kids fill my home, and my day. When I'm looking around, smiling, and thanking the Lord for all that surrounds and invades my space, there's simply no room for complaining or whining. 

My children don't leave much room for me to even have a thought of my own. Thankfulness is the same. It doesn't share space.

Standing in the middle of dreams, with a giggling monkey on my back, God is definitely up to something, and it is good.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Play Room    |   Tags: Monkey on my Back
5 comments | published by Linda | April 09, 2010
She would pull out all the dishes, even the fancy ones. Stacks of cups, napkins, forks and spoons were spread across the sink. I knew when the tall coffee pot was pulled onto the sink, that a crowd would soon be arriving. The salad was always billowing from the bowl, and there were more dinner rolls than could ever be necessary stacked and ready to go.

They would love to come, and lingered so long because they didn't want to go. With mugs of hot coffee in their hands at the end of the evening, it was difficult to let it end. 

My mom knew how to throw a party. With tables everywhere, we were all made comfortable. Her laughter and good cheer  set the emotional thermostat and created an environment of joy.

I remember in my first year of marriage, I would look around our little one bedroom apartment and thought it could never be. Our table with only a few chairs could not possibly be enough. These concerns were matched by my insecurities of what was inside my refrigerator. Would anyone want to come over for a hot dog, or macaroni and cheese? I figured I had years to wait in order to qualify as a hostess.

I've come to realize, that it is enough. The size of my home, my cooking abilities, and the number of chairs is not why friends and family would want to come. Opening up my home, and offering joy and friendship is what blesses those around me. Inviting people over to share a meal, and a place to relax and laugh is good. Pushing away insecurities and excuses leave me wide open for others to be blessed as I serve and love them.

I don't want to be a thermometer checking the temperature of the warmth of my house, but the thermostat, setting the atmosphere. Serving my friends with fancy dishes, or paper plates, I want them to hold mugs of hot coffee in their hands, and find it difficult to leave. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Enough
5 comments | published by Linda | April 07, 2010
2 Samuel 7:12
"When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom."

When he came to visit, my father-in-law took over the kitchen. This was good. He would bring ingredients never seen before, set the towels, pots and pans where they needed to be, and he would begin. I remember watching him search through drawers and cupboards for trivial items. Never asking, always searching. 

As the afternoon moved on, the smells would creep out of the kitchen walls and slowly fill the house. Over the sounds of the spoons hitting the sides of the pots was his occasional humming, which would often turn to singing. I didn't know the song. It didn't matter. He was here, in my home, and it was good.

He delighted in the serving. We would all sit at the table eager to partake in his creation, and he was happy. I knew that these would be memories that we would all lean on in the future. I wanted each of my children to remember.

A little over a week before my youngest daughter was born, I received his call. We knew he only had hours left. This was one call that I wished could have never ended. Holding tightly to the phone, I didn't want to let go. I reminded him of the times we danced. He promised me we would dance again. He told me to keep cooking his meals for the kids, his grandkids were what mattered. What he left behind for them is what gave his life purpose. This is God's design. He wanted them to remember. I'll never let them forget.

As I now search through drawers and cupboards for trivial items, and the smells slowly creep out of the kitchen, I can still hear his humming, and it often turns into singing.  
Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Into Singing
4 comments | published by Linda | April 01, 2010
Ephesians 4:32
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Picking up the trail of dropped toys, dirty laundry, and loose school papers is continuous. It amazes me how quickly the piles on the stairs build with shoes, backpacks, and lego pieces. I also wonder if any toothpaste ever actually hits the toothbrushes as every morning, there is much left on the sink and towel hook. Cleaning is continuous. In order to have a home that is a joy to live in, work is required. My house cannot be cleaned once a week, it's a part of each day.

If I were to leave the piles, the dirty dishes on the sink, the crumbs on the floor, this house would quickly turn to a place that would be uncomfortable, and a misery to live in. I can't even imagine how fast we would not have clean clothes to wear as we would have to climb over mountains of smelly laundry to get from one room to the other. 

What's the difference between a home kept up, and one that is neglected and messy? In one, things are continually picked up. The same is true with offenses and forgiveness. Living together in a family, forgiveness will always be necessary. We must continually clean the messes that are made between us.  

I've noticed that when you move a stack of stuff to another room, it's not really cleaned up. Likewise, using a dry rag to wipe crayon from the cupboard door doesn't have a good result. When we make a mess, it must be cleaned appropriately. If we hurt one another, we must label it for what it was, and seek forgiveness for the exact sin. The blessing of forgiveness that follows is overwhelming.  

Piles build if not broken down and put away. Bitterness is the same. If it's there, pick it up and put it away.

Life is a blessing that passes faster than we'd want to admit. We mustn't spend it with our family in the middle of a mess. 
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room    |   Tags: Clean It Up
5 comments | published by Linda | March 30, 2010
Turning back time ten years, I can still see him run to me with his picture completed. I praised him for a job well done, and put it in its place of glory on the center of the refrigerator. This only prompted him to create more, as the prize of my pride filled him. Showing my joy over his accomplishments was crucial. 

Growing up, he has also been the first to the table, the last to leave, and the one to empty milk jugs, cookie jars and cereal boxes faster than I could keep them filled. Keeping him full has not been easy, but rewarding as I watch him grow.

Being older and much bigger now, there is more to fill. With an even larger appetite, it is clear when he is hungry. When he comes to the kitchen, I quickly see that he has come to me for far more than food. As I fill a plate, we talk. Telling him of my pride of what he is doing, and how I respect the choices he's making is what builds him up, and helps him grow. 

Boys and men need respect. This is nourishment for them. Showing pride for their accomplishments is food. Food is needed continually. It can't be offered once, then the need ignored. It's easy to assume that once a boy has grown, the need for praise is gone. Yet, the larger the boy, the larger the space to fill in order to bring him to confident manhood. 

Now standing over six feet tall, I can see he has been well fed. I still hold the pictures he made for me. I look at them as reminders of my boy, now my young man, who is still looking to me, as the prize of my pride fills him. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Hunger
5 comments | published by Linda | March 28, 2010
Sitting at the booth across from us, the tiny boy was refusing to eat his peas. Both parents sitting on each side of him were trying all sorts of creative ways to encourage him to accept the spoon filled with green goop. He would swing his head back and forth, and tightly clench his lips. As the mom was pretending the spoon was a plane coming in for a landing, the dad was telling him what a big, strong boy he was. As I watched the little guy, it was clear to me that although the parents thought the food was paramount, the peas were actually unimportant.

Later that night, my two year old daughter did not like the clothes that I picked out for her. She cried, and struggled to submit. She thought the polka dot dress would be a far better choice. Although I loved the stripes, it was again clear to me, that the outfit was unimportant.

I know the feeling. I've held a strong resemblance to the little guy with the green goop. I know what I want, and likewise, what I don't. Finding it hard at times to trust the choices God has made for me, I fight. God knows, whatever my circumstances are, they are actually unimportant.

It's the fight, the battle, the refusal and the stubbornness within me that matters to my Lord. When I get discontent and battle over what He has chosen for me in my life in any situation, He goes right to my heart, to what matters.

A heart of thankful submission and joy in whatever He has set before me, whether sunny or cloudy, should be my attitude. As He makes me aware of my stubborn heart, and I become soft before Him, I am once again thankful that He is a God that knows that the peas in my life are unimportant.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Unimportant Peas
7 comments | published by Linda | March 26, 2010
Whah whah, whah whah whah whah"... Charlie Brown's School Teacher

I would unroll my flannel lined sleeping bag, and spread it out across the shag carpet on the den floor in preparation of the much awaited episode of "The Peanuts". Something about watching Snoopy and the gang brought me smiles and peace. I remember how the words of the school teachers were never understood, almost as if they were too boring and monotonous to be important.

Years later, I noticed my children standing only a few feet away from me didn't seem to be aware that I was talking to them. I was probably repeating myself with some instructions they were uninterested in. It is always a pleasure to be the only one to hear your own voice in a room filled with little people who should be listening to you. I've used this as a scale to measure my communication when the audience I'm trying to hit is unaware of my words. Resembling Charlie Brown's school teacher is not a goal.

I've visited friends homes where the talking and laughter was so robust at the dinner table that it seemed no one took a breath. All chiming in at the same time, they found complete delight in hearing from the others and getting their opinion in when they could. It was clear their family was strong, they were close. I also have childhood memories of visiting a home where everyone went to eat their meal in their own room. They were busy with their own interests, seemingly uninterested in each other.  

Keeping strong communication lines open to my children is imperative. Having constant conversations with them about life is necessary. Even when we seem to debate about a subject, I am certain that when they are confronted on the issue, my words will be there, and they will stand behind them. 

Everyday I want to prepare for the daily much awaited episode of my children's lives, and have open ears and clear words to bring them smiles and peace. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Play Room, Attic    |   Tags: Peanuts
2 comments | published by Linda | February 07, 2010
Ephesians 3:20
"Now, glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of. Infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes."

I found myself standing at the kitchen window with a cup of hot coffee in my hands. There was peace around my feet. I had been given a moment. It was then that I realized the importance of celebrating each moment as they come and quickly pass. One moment I can be surrounded by craziness, and the next find quiet surrounding me.

I have found my life doesn't much resemble many coffee commercials. I don't spend much of my time sitting and sipping. If a commercial were made of my life it would show me pouring coffee into all of the little cups that surround me. Like moments in our days, each one will make a difference. Moments wiping dirty hands, wiping tears and even changing diapers please my Lord. Laughing so hard with my son that we both can hardly breath will always echo in my mind. Training and correcting tire me, yet I can rest in God's promises that these moments will have everlasting value in their lives.

I've found that if I am not paying attention to my children closely enough, and their little cups become half empty, they also become cold. When not filled up with love, joy, discussions, laughter and training, their hearts can become cold. When I find myself correcting more and laughing less it is a sign to me that it's time to fill them up with the love and encouragement they need. Joy must reign in our home.

I'd like to think that my pot of hot coffee would be full forever, daily serving, yet God has not intended for this time of my life to be permanent. I must celebrate in every moment of pouring my life into these little ones. There will be a time, when my pot has been emptied. I pray that my children will be filled up with rich moments from our time together. I look forward to celebrating that my children's cups will be full. And my hope is that what I served will have been good to the last drop.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: The Moments of Your Life
2 comments | published by Linda | January 19, 2010

Galatians 6:9
“And let us not loose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.”

The sound of a whistling kettle on the stove means it’s time for a cup of tea, and there’s nothing quite like a mug full of hot spicy tea on a cold winter day.

As I drop my tea bag into my cup of steaming hot water I realize how I can relate to the tea bag. The tea cannot be enjoyed before it has been soaked in hot water.

While it’s dry, inside the bag it’s practically useless, or in the least, something special that hasn’t yet begun to fulfill its purpose.

I like comfort. I enjoy smooth days with sunny skies, yet as I’m growing I’ve come to realize that sometimes my Lord comes to me through the rain clouds. Through tough days I seem to think something’s wrong, and this couldn’t be God’s plan for me. Yet, sometimes hot water is required.

I’m just so thankful for the string on the end of my bag because I know He’s holding onto it and knows when it’s time, and the tea is ready.

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Tea Time
2 comments | published by Linda | January 07, 2010

Genesis 1:31
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

I’m not capable of just leaving. When it’s time to head out the door, I find it impossible to step past the shoes that are spread across the floor, the books left open on the table, and the crumbs and wrappers from lunch that sit on the kitchen counters. I find it necessary to rush through the house closing cupboards, drawers, tucking items away, closing books and wiping up the crumbs. It has to be perfect. Why? Do I have some hidden belief that while I’m away a team of experts will walk through my home with white gloves on to determine if I’m performing my tasks appropriately? If those crumbs are wiped away will my day be insured of success? So far this has not proven to be true.

Making dinner is not enough. A meal seems to taste better when it is served on a table set beautifully, with several serving dishes billowing with different flavors and many colors. Knowing that a freshly baked cake is waiting on the counter for dessert somehow brings out the flavor in the dinner a bit more. Yet, on those days I only have found time to cook up a big pot of soup, my family has been fed, their hunger satisfied. Maybe it wasn’t a meal that would be remembered for its creative flair, but it was good. I had done well for my family.

I have a list I hold to daily. It’s easy for me to become frustrated at the end of the day when I see so many items not crossed out, yet I know that my baby needed more holding, and my oldest son needed my listening ear. A friend suggested that instead I should make my list at the end of the day. This way I would be able to write out everything that I did, and would most likely be amazed at all that I had accomplished.

Why is it that good is not enough? It’s so easy to strive for the impossible and then become swallowed up in disappointment that there are still toys on the floor, or one of my children is repeating the same sin that was worked on yesterday. If becoming too absorbed in the ideal pulls me away from hearing my Lord say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” then my focus has fallen away from my purpose.

My creator looked across the whole universe that had been fashioned by His hands and saw that it was good. The scriptures don’t express that it was perfect, or glorious in His eyes, it was good. It was well with Him.
Soup is good. Macaroni and cheese fills those little tummies that sit around my table, and serves their appetites well. Well is good. Oh, to lie in bed at night and know that regardless of what my day held for me, or what tomorrow might hold, that I can truly say it is well, it is well with my soul.

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: It Is Well