Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mommyhood--the menu plan for the month

So, before I get to the real important stuff about menu planning, let me just say that I was not always a menu planner. When I got married I cooked only what I knew how to cook. No cookbooks, no Internet help, no nuttin'. I went from memory on how to cook the basic meals I grew up with, ie: Italian food.My husband was okay with that seeing how he didn't grow up with a variety of  Italian meals. We were both happy.

As time went on the unwritten recipes got old and we were on the hunt for something new. I grabbed ideas from here and there, but still never even thought of looking in a cookbook. (I never saw my mother follow a recipe-I don't think she even owned a cookbook! I must have had it in my mind that: a) you cook only what you know and b) to fear cookbooks).

Soon children began popping up around me and things did need to change, but I had no idea how to change it. I was too embarrassed to ask for help. Too afraid to add anything new into a very busy mommy schedule. And also, too afraid of finding out that I wasn't smart enough to follow a recipe and get it right.

I began following Martha Stewart recipes. (I followed them only because that was the only magazine I was getting. It was a bit overwhelming). You know what else overwhelmed me? The idea of making up a menu for the week, and going food shopping according to that menu. I have no idea why that was so, so, scary. I think it was because my mother never did it, my mother-in-law never did it, and it just seemed too foreign to me. It seemed too difficult of a task to wrap my brain around without someone taking me by the hand and explaining it. Also, mommyhood and ministry were really keeping me busy. It felt like if I took on anything else I was going to break.

So, to make a long story even longer, my husband and I, with four children and one on the way, went to a conference talking specifically about menu planning, couponing, food shopping etc. I cried as I sat and listened. It all seemed too much to grasp and yet I knew if I could add this new task to my life, life would be easier and have less stress. Things would be organized. There would be peace in my home right around 3pm as I went to the fridge to start preparing dinner. I just had to learn it. (My husband saw my fears and my desire to defeat them. He linked arms with me in this journey. Seriously, I couldn't have done it without him).

So here goes. To all you brave women- here are my menu ideas:

I sat down one day and wrote out breakfast ideas and talked it over with the kids. (I talked about it with them because my honey is already off at work when we are having our breakfast at 6:30am). So, they loved the ideas and we went from there. Below is an example of one week's worth of breakfast dishes that we used repeatedly for the four weeks of a month. So, let's say for the month of January every Monday we would have cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. Every Tuesday for that month we would have bagels...get the idea?

Mon.     Tues.       Wed.      Thurs.        Fri.        Sat.     Sun.
Cereal   Bagels  Pancakes  Cereal   Quiche    waffles   Cereal
    or                                                     or
oatmeal                                       Banana muffins

On Wednesday mornings I make the *pancakes, but on Thursday night the girls make either the quiche or the banana muffins for the next day. I like this schedule, thus far, because the kids know the routine, they are quick to help and get it set up, and once again there is no arguing over what is for breakfast that day. They know in advance that "tomorrow is quiche day" and that 's that. (I also love, love, love that my girls are learning to plan the night before for the next day's breakfast and they are learning to bake). I have found that repetition is a wonderful teacher. So with that, having a routine, month long, breakfast and lunch menu is helping them to perfect the lessons they are learning that month. Then when we sit down for new breakfast ideas they will take on more new lessons.

*(If anyone would like this pancake recipe let me know. IT'S fantastic! You simply make the batter, pour it into a 13x9 pan and bake 20min. These are obviously not flap-jacks-and for me-that's perfect!)


Again, I went to the kids with my ideas for lunch. Example below:

Mon.    Tues.     Wed.        Thurs.          Fri.               Sat.            Sun.
Egg       PBJ    Chicken  Quesadillas   Cold Cuts     A Free         PBJ/
Salad                Salad                        sandwiches     for all       or a meal

In this schedule the girls prepare the Egg Salad, and the boys prepare the chicken salad. Honestly, I am amazed at how a schedule has given everyone a job, and a goal. We are working together without confusion in the kitchen. Lunch is prepared without an attitude over "I don't want that!" We made the menu together and we are working together to make it come alive. (I know many moms use dinner left-overs as their lunch meals for the next day, but I like to re-use them as a left over meal for dinner instead).

Now for the dinner ideas:

Throughout the month I take a cookbook or two and begin putting little post-it's on some recipes that I would like to try. There is no anxiety over it because I have a month to find a bunch of new ones for the next month.

Now for the specifics:

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I cook a new and different meal on each day.

On Thursday's I get a break- it's left-over night. Everyone gets their plate and chooses what they would like to have. It's wonderful! No complaining-everyone gets their favorite-it's a happy day. (Because I have no cooking on this day I usually use the time for baking).

Friday's are  pizza night. I make and bake the bread in the morning and simply prepare the pizza and a salad in the evening before the meal. (I have been recently told that my pizza is the best! Might be thinking of opening up an Italian pizzeria-I'd call it...Benjaminellie's. (Sorry, for the diversion...)

Saturday is the day when the kids cook. They choose hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fish fillets, mac-n-cheese etc. Sometimes they choose a recipe and challenge themselves to cook something different. (Ben and I will eat whatever left-overs haven't gotten eaten from the week or have a "date-night" dinner).

And finally, but not at all least, Sunday is hubby's day to cook dinner! He cooks eggs, bacon, biscuits etc.

Menu planning for me is finding three new meals or the oldie favorites for each week and the other four days are pretty much taken care of. That's all I can handle. To have to cook every single day would be more than my brain, life, whatever you want to call it, can handle and really just too much food.

Now for writing it down on the calendar. (My menu calendar is separate from the family life calendar) I get my cookbooks and begin placing dinner ideas down. The calendar quickly fills up with new and wonderful recipes (Twelve to be more exact) that I have never tried. I sit down and go through my cookbooks (I have more than one now-aren't you proud?) and write down the name of the cookbook,  the name of the recipe, and the page number down on the day of the week I plan to make it. I fill out the whole month on the calendar. My hubby helps me too. He gives me ideas or tells me what he'd like to have within the month. It's a job we both enjoy doing together.

After that I go back with my shopping list and begin opening up each recipe to find what I will need for each recipe. In no time the list is complete and we're ready to go shopping. We don't over buy or under buy. We have just what we need.

I know you're all asking about the perishables. Yes, we run out of milk and a few items, but we find that it is much easier to run out once a week to get few items than to have to do BIG shopping every week. Once a month huge shopping is enough for us.

So there you have it--Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menu ideas for a month. Every month the menus change, but we just roll with it. I hope you have gotten something out of this.

If you have better ideas, better planning, better ways of making my day more organized I am totally open to it. I'm not afraid of change anymore! Victory! Happy planning =D

Friday, January 27, 2012


I am a mommy to my six children and I have been in mommyhood for twelve years now. I have alot to say on the subject, probably not as much as some, but still enough for new moms. So, as my mind was swirling on what to talk about or where to begin I thought I'd hear from you all first.

What do you want to hear about?

1-The terror of being a new mommy
2- Baby number two is on the way, how is life going to change?
4-Is God asking us to have more children?
5-How do I schedule my day?
6-Why home-school?
7-How do I get out of the house with six children, look put together and not feel ragged?
8-How or why should I run a ministry when ministering to my family is hard enough?
9-Bible time?
10-Dates with hubby-he's my first love
11-Food shopping-really, I have to do that too?
12-When do I start giving my kids chores?
13-Bedtime routine.
14-laundry, laundry, laundry.
15-Is there such a thing called, "me time?"
16-Breakfast, lunch and Dinner menu for the month!
18-Dates and special one on one time
19-Toys-gotta love 'em
20-Dealing with judgement from the world
21-"Hope I don't do things like my mother did"-parenting out of fear
22-sleep deprived and yet I still have to parent
These are my ideas or things I have come across in my journey of mommyhood. So, pick one or give me one that you'd like to hear about. -

 I'd love to share my journey in this world of motherhood.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Walk through and Laugh Again

I've been meditating on Psalm 23 lately. I haven't actually read Psalm 23 in awhile, but I'm studying the book of Job and the verse, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil," keeps popping into my mind. Job certainly was in a "valley." And honestly, I can't remember if I heard Joyce Meyers say this or I have just been thinking about the verse so long that I've come up with it on my own, but I keeping thinking about the words "walk through."  It doesn't say- walk around, or prepare a bridge and walk over, it's walk through. We are going to have "valleys" in our lives that's a fact. Now we can try to make short cuts or avoid it as best as we can, but the reality is the only way to get past the valleys in our lives is by walking through them.

I know so many times I have been in a valley. I start out so determined to make it through and make it through fast, but then somewhere in the middle I start trying to climb the walls to get out! I start boo-hooing, crying out to God in complete fear, and say "God, get me out of this mess..."  "Make it stop"  Now I know this isn't true for all situations, but for me, thus far, God has wanted me to just calm down, stand up straight, trust Him, and keep walking through. He wants me to trust Him. He wants me to hold on to Him. He wants me to go deeper with Him.

(I tell you what, for me, the valley is just plain scary. Hard times are scary enough, (If you have read any of my stories about my past you will soon see that I have gone through some seriously, hard valleys), but pressing into God, being challenged to grow up, being challenged to trust Him and not stay in control, trying to break chains that have so easily entangled me and as a side note continue on in the day to day life of raising kids and trying to be a good wife is scary stuff for me.  I say this so no one thinks that I think valleys are easy-I don't. The sciptures don't think so either- the name of the valley is "the shadow of death"- we don't like valleys for a reason, but we are still called to walk through).

I like the image of me "climbing the walls."  I've done it so many times it's ridiculous. I get myself in some mess- hurt feelings, I get offended, insecurities raise their ugly heads- and then I'm back in the valley. I sit there, (it's such a bummer). I do nothing for awhile. Then I sit feeling sorry for myself and then at some point I realize I don't want be in the valley anymore so I get up and start climbing the walls (as if that's an option!) When I get tired of that, I start praying. Then God tells me to start putting one foot in front of the other and walk through the valley with Him. (As you can tell I've been in the valley quite a few times). God is so patient and I am so pathetic.

So, back to Job. Talk about a valley! All of his oxen and donkeys (that were plowing his fields) were stolen, all his sheep and servants were burned, all of his camels were stolen, the house where all of his children were gathered fell on top of them and they all died and if that wasn't enough his body was struck with sores, "Satan...afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head." (Job 2: 7) He couldn't get comfortable on the couch or bed, (Job 7:13) He couldn't sleep because of nightmares, (Job 7:14)--that is a valley. At that point, Job seriously just wanted to die and who could really blame him? He says, "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, 'a boy is born!" (Job 3:3)

I LOVE what his friend Bildad says to him in reply, "Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." (Job 8:20-22)

Who'd a thought? Job laughing again! Job shouting for joy! Where Job was lying he couldn't possibly imagine laughing again. His heart was broken and so was his body-laughing was gone. Joy was gone-forever. But no truer words could have been spoken. "...the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10) "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first..." (Job 42:12)  And so he died, old and full of years." (Job 42:16) Joy. Laughter. The light at the end of the tunnel.

Whenever I've thought of a 'valley' my mind also envisions a tunnel. It's the same idea I guess, needing to go through the tunnel, not stopping for any reasons, the 'keep going' idea. I had only been through the Mid-Town tunnel a few times (too expensive), but since being here I've gone through the tunnel many, many times (free). I remember the first time I went through. We entered, it was fun at first, then it got darker, then I felt claustrophobic, then I saw a pinhead of light, then I had hope, the light grew bigger, then I was focusing so much on the light that I didn't even realize I was still in the tunnel and lastly, I was out!  That light gave me hope that we'd get out and in much the same way we need to remember we too will get out of our valley. For me, laughing again and shouts of joy are my light. I've cried through so many of my valleys that I can only hope for laughter again.

Walk through.
 Trust God.
 Laugh again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What God Forgets

What does God forget?
He can't forget anything by accident, He's perfect.
So, what He forgets, He forgets on purpose and it's good.
Imagine that. I mean when have you ever forgotten anything
a) on purpose? and
 b) it was a good thing? and people were happy with you?
It's never happened to me.
Only God can do that.
When God forgets our sin, it's a great thing.

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25)
He forgets our sin.
He remembers us, but forgets our sin.
He loves us that much.
It's truly inconceivable.

Scripture says, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) All of us at one time or another did something wrong- sinned. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us . (Romans 5: 6-8) We are all in the same boat-sinners. No on greater, no one lesser. We all have sinned. We all needed a Savior and in Jesus Christ we got one. He bore our sins. He did it. Our job is to accept Him and confess our sin. "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15: 7-10)
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you." (Isaiah 44:22)

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

We may plead as the psalmist did in Psalm 25:7 "Do not remember my wicked ways", but we really don't need to. Once we confess our sin to God, it's forgotten. No guilt. No shame. No memory of it. As Jesus said, "It is finished."

I love that Jesus forgets my sin. I have a hard time forgetting it, and so do a lot of the people I have hurt, but He doesn't. I love that I can wake up in the morning and have a new day, a new chance to be more like Jesus. I don't walk around with the years of sin on my back, trying to undo it all, trying to prove myself a different person.  I love that I am free from sin. Free to be more like Jesus.

What Jesus forgets, my sin, is wonderfully freeing!
 Jesus, help me to live in the freedom you have provided. Help me to offer that same 'forgive and forget' to others. Help me to be more like you. Thank you Jesus, I really needed that.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What God Remembers

Have you ever thought: What is God thinking?
Silly, but I like to think about things like that and what matters to God.
 I like to think about what is on God's mind and
what are the things that are important enough for Him to remember.

I can find two things that God remembers. The first thing that He always remembers is us. He's always thinking about us. He never, not for one moment forgets us. He always remembers us. (That's a crazy thought isn't it? I mean there are so many of us down here and yet somehow He never skips a beat, never gets drowsy, never lets His mind wander and forgets about us). We are all He thinks about!

How do I know? Well, scripture says that we are the apple of his eye.  I looked up the meaning of the phrase on what 'the apple of my eye' could mean. Wikipedia says, "Something, but usually someone, that you cherish above all others. "My husband said he thinks it means, "The object of one's affection." And I've heard it said to mean, "beloved."  Which means-God says WE are cherished by Him above all others. WE are the object of His affection. WE are His beloved.

A few years ago I was praying with my prayer partner, a friend, when I began to cry. Inside my heart I thought, "Has God forgotten me?  My heart is breaking. Is He there?" I remained silent, but heard my friend say, "God is not unaware."  She said nothing else. That's all I needed to hear. God IS aware. That really struck me. It still strikes me today every time I say it.  God IS aware of what is going on in my life.  He knows and He has a plan. He's thinking about me. He remembers me. He may seem silent at times, but I believe He waits on timing and our surrendered will to act.

What God remembers could be said another way too- what God does not forget. I didn't know too many scriptures when my family tried, for the first time, to disown me. It was 1991. My mother stood by and watched as her daughters, my sisters, tied me up. She looked on as they threw me into the trunk of their car. She was a part of  the plan to abandon me to the streets. God saw. God knew. God was thinking of me. God remembered me. God had a plan. Who I am that God would rescue me? How did He see all that happened? (Golly, so many more horrible things were probably going on at the same time to other people around the world and yet He was thinking of me and had a plan to rescue me!) And He did.

A few weeks after the above tragedy occurred I came across the scripture in Isaiah 49:15

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
 Though she may forget, I will not forget you!" 

Amazing isn't it? God remembers me. God remembers you. No matter who forgets us or abandons us in this life; mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, family, friends, pastor, neighbors, church family, or even your boss, God will not abandon us. He will not forget us- ever.

It really humbles me to think that God thinks about me. That God knows me. That God remembers me. A little nobody from no where. With all the people in this world suffering much more horribly than me. People so much more worse off than me. He remembers me. But really, how could He forget us when He says: 

"See, I have engraved you on the palms on my hands..." (Isaiah 49: 16)

The second thing that I have found that God remembers are His promises to us. (It's hard for me to believe or really imagine someone keeping their promise, but God is not people.)

 In 1 Chronicles 16:14 it says,
"He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise He made, for a thousand generations."

 The Bible speaks many times on how God will remember the promises He has made-for example: Every time we see a rainbow we know that God has promised to never flood the world again. "And God said, "this is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I will have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between  me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." (Genesis 9:12- 16)

Another amazing promise God has kept is the one of sending us the Savior of the world and He did it just as He said He would.- Isaiah 53: 1-5:8  "He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him....Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

So, as I wrote in 'Let bygones be Remembered'
 God has asked us to remember Him and His goodness,
 but that's not all,
 know that God remembers you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Let Bygones be Remembered"

I read somewhere, "Let bygones be remembered." I thought that was funny because the old adage is, "Let bygones be bygones." I started thinking, what in the the world is a bygone that we should remember it or make it a bygone? I always assumed that a bygone had something to do with a bad memory or a bad event. So, I looked up the meaning of bygone in Websters Dictionary and it simply means, 'gone by' or 'past.'  Okay, so the question is: should we "Let the past be remembered" or "Let the past be the past."  Hmmmm...

I'm one for remembering the past. The past has helped me to see where my fears come from and how to go to the Lord for healing. The past has also helped me to see my mistakes and how to better myself. But the most important thing the past has done for me is to remember how God has rescued me. I have stories upon stories where the Lord came in like a superhero and saved me. How He has touched my heart and brought me hope. How He has taught me and how He has blessed me- I want to remember it all.

I guess I've always been this way. I am the youngest of seven children and I grew up watching my older siblings enjoying life and making mistakes. I kind of wrote their victories and failures all down in my mind thinking that I need to learn something from all their experiences. And as I grew older I did make many decisions for my own life based on what I saw my siblings do.

But I will say that the neat thing is when I first started reading the Bible I learned very quickly that God wants us to remember. He calls us over and over and over to remember. Isn't that wild?
God wants us to remember.
Remember what?
Remember His goodness.
One example is when God tells the Israelites to remember how He saved them from the Angel of Death.
How God led Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm." (Deuteronomy 5:15)
Remember how God parted the Red Sea.
Remember how God brought them into the Promised Land.
But why remember? They needed to remember because God knew that hard times would come and they, in their human frailty, would question the goodness of God. Even to question God's ability to save them or protect them from their enemies. And what is soooo neat to me is that the Jewish people, to this very day, celebrate Passover to REMEMBER all that God has done for them.

(Note: Know that God doesn't tell them to remember the horrible time they had as slaves. He doesn't tell them to sit around remembering with their pals and talking about all the things that went wrong for them by complaining, griping, and feeling sorry for themselves. That is not what remembering the past is good for. God knows all that we have been through. He knows our pain. What He wants us to do is to remember how we were rescued from it all. He wants us to give thanks for how He turned all that mess into good.  And I gotta say, If you've not been rescued from it yet, then it's time to be. I'm not trying to sound harsh, but it's so hard listening to people talk about the past, with all it's horrible details, emotions, anger, and frustration, as if the event happened yesterday, (but in reality it was three to ten years ago) and not changing from it. God really does have more for us. He says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10).  It's time to humble yourself and ask Him to set you free. It's time to be willing to make some changes. It's time to forgive those that hurt you whether it was yesterday or years ago. It's time to stop saying, "But this is how I am." It's time to allow God to be Lord over your personality. It's time to allow God to be Lord over your whole life. It's time to walk away from the past and allow God to be the judge. It's time to see how God can change a horrible event in the past into something wonderful).

As a Christian we are to remember the Passover too. What is known to Christians as 'The Last Supper' was the celebration of the Passover. Jesus and His apostles were celebrating the Passover meal together on Jesus' last night on this earth. It is here where Jesus reveals to His apostles, Jewish men, that He himself was the fulfillment of the Passover. He was going to be and has become the perfect lamb sacrificed for us to save us from the 'Angel of Death.' And Jesus specifically says,
"This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
 Luke 22:19.
Christians all around the world take time to remember the Passover every Sunday. Take time to remember that Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world during Communion. That is something that you don't ever want to forget. Something we need to know and remember.

Seriously, what good is it if we go through this life forgetting all that God has done for us?
How can our faith grow?
For me, I face every new trial in my life on the shoulders of my past trial's victory or failure. I remember how God saved me and I try and apply what I've learned to my new trial. For example: I'll say to myself, "Well, if God can heal my heart from the cutting words from my own family then He can certainly heal my heart from the unkind words of a friend. It gives me hope that my heart will heal. It gives me hope that I will be restored. Or I think about the time in my life when I was homeless and God provided in such a way that I never spent one single night on the streets. Through that, I have the faith to believe that God will provide for my family of eight.  I remember when I had a pillowcase tied around my neck and was suffocating, about to die and then I was able to breath freely again and so now my health/life is in His hands. I fear not the future of my body. I am taking care of my body, and I do not fear death.

I have seen over and over again the goodness, nay, the greatness of our God and I chose... to remember.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

He Came!

For two weeks now my little three year old son has been putting together little gifts for Jesus. It started the week before Christmas. The first time I found him doing this he was in the bathtub taking his favorite tub toys, wrapping them up in wash clothes, and waiting for Jesus to come and receive His birthday presents.

After four days of this I really didn't know what to do. Do I take the 'present,' hide it and tell him that Jesus took the gift? (I know that's lying-I didn't do it). Do I sit down and tell him that Jesus doesn't need that kind of gift from us? Do I tell him that Jesus probably won't come to you at tub time? Well, honestly, I was at such a loss of  what to do that I said nothing and did nothing.

Christmas came and went. Tub time continued. I thought okay, "Christmas is over, we've sung "Happy Birthday to Jesus" my little boy will not spend his whole tub time making a present for Jesus and waiting for Him. I was wrong. As a matter of fact each night since Christmas my son has done the exact same thing in the tub as he did before Christmas. He wrapped up his toys and waited for Jesus. 

He never complained. Never questioned why Jesus hadn't come. Never got discouraged. Never got deterred from the mission of giving Jesus a gift.  Me?- on the other hand, I got nervous. I wondered what was my role as the mommy? What do I tell him? I didn't get any great  ideas on how to properly handle this-so again, I just let the situation be.

So, last night, six days after Christmas, I took my daughter out of the tub first, but I allowed my little boy to stay and wait for Jesus. I checked on him every few minutes to see if he was okay or if he was ready to get out of the tub. It wasn't long before I heard my son call to me and say, "Mommy, I'm ready." I scooped him up and carried him to his room to get dressed. While dressing him I asked him how his tub time was.

He said, "Great!"
I asked, "why?"
He said with a bubbling over smile and excitement in his voice, "Jesus was in the bathroom with me-He came!"
I said, "He did!!!"
Not really thinking a three year old could describe what Jesus looked like I asked him, "What did Jesus look like?" 
My son responded, "He was a very bright yellow" and my boy jumped up and down. 
I then asked, "Was Jesus nice?"
He said, "Oh, mommy, He's so cute!"

Call me crazy, but I really believe that my son did see Jesus. I believe it because my son waited expectantly and was hopeful for Jesus to come. I believe it because I saw that for two weeks my son's heart wanted nothing more than to give Jesus a present. I believe it because the Bible tells us that Jesus loves children. I believe it because that's the heart of our God. Our God wants to come to us. He wants to talk with us and be known to us. He wants so much to love us.

I've been pricked in my heart over this experience. I been thinking about how I am to offer my gifts to God humbly, hopefully, expectantly and believe that Jesus will not only hear me, not only receive my gift, but make Himself known to me.

What gift do I want to give Jesus?
My life.
I want Him to form me, change me, mold me, use me for His work.
I want to give Him my hurt, my unforgiveness, my pride, my anger. These may not sound like great gifts to us, but to Jesus they are. To give Him all our wounds and trust and believe that He will heal us is a wonderful present to Him.

I want this next year of my life to be one where I find myself sitting and waiting, as my son did with joy, for Jesus to come. To have Him come and 'sup' with me. To be so intimate with God that I hear His voice at each turn. That my focus will be on Him alone.  And maybe when I offer my gifts, maybe He won't heal me right away, maybe I'll have to wait, but my prayer is that I will not loose hope. Not loose my focus. Not get discouraged, but believe that one day I will be healed!

Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus came! He came to earth out of shear love for us. He came to know us. He came that we could know Him. And just think, we can have it so He comes into our lives each and every day- we don't have to wait for Christmas!  All we need do is to humble ourselves like a little child and ask Him to come...and believe He will.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
Matthew 5:8