Monthly Archives: September 2011

It all started with a sack lunch…

Poverty in America is on the rise. Although poverty in the U.S. is far different than poverty in many other countries one thing is universal, the children suffer most. What do we do about it when we’re struggling just to hang on ourselves? I heard a story this week that is a moving reminder of how a simple act of kindness can not only fill a child’s stomach, but also transform their heart’s and change their destiny.

Janice was a high school junior when she met Mary. They played on the softball team and shared some classes.  It didn’t take long, however, for Janice to realize that one thing they didn’t share was lunch. Mary never ate lunch, nor did she have a snack before practice. Janice was concerned that her lack of nutrition would cause weariness and a weakness that could affect her studies and softball.

Janice didn’t know what to do. As she and Mary became better friends she discovered that Mary’s mom paid little or no attention to her daughter. Their apartment was often without food, but rarely without alcohol. Janice wanted to help her friend but didn’t want to offend her. With her parents help, Janice discovered a way.

Janice’s dad began packing a lunch each day for both girls. When the noon bell rang, Janice made sure to seek Mary out and offer the lunch that was packed especially for her. Janice and her family fed Mary for 2 years simply by taking a little extra time to pack an additional lunch.

Over the next few years Mary saw God’s love in action through Janice and her family and knew she wanted what they had. Janice and her mom were with her when Mary surrendered her heart to Jesus and trusted in His saving grace.

Last weekend Mary married the man of her dreams and is joining him in full-time ministry to college students. The wedding was small.  Only a few of her family members attended, but Janice and her mom were there along with many college students whose lives are being changed because of Mary and her new husband. Tears of joy overflowed.

What started with feeding a young girl’s stomach has multiplied into feeding the soul’s of countless more. And it all started with a little extra lunch.

Increasing poverty will provide many opportunities for others to see God’s love and provision through us. How can you and your family meet the needs of those around you? A little bit can go a long way!

Food for thought…

A few years ago we changed our breakfast routine. Cold cereal, toast and 2 slices of turkey bacon had been our usual fare… not bad right? Think again…

I wasn’t implementing what I knew to be true: a high protein/low carb breakfast stays with you longer, provides more energy and, as a side benefit, helps control weight gain. All of us were struggling with weight and energy. I packed huge lunches for the kids and they were still hungry. So, we decided to get up a bit earlier and prepare a high protein breakfast. The results have been remarkable. Not only have we shed some pounds, but the kids lunches are now half what they used to be (including an after school snack) and they’re satisfied!

If this puts you under the pile let me assure you, high protein doesn’t always have to be eggs and bacon or sausage. Oatmeal is a easy and healthy choice. Wait, you say, where’s the protein in that? Here’s a little “magic” trick!

Add a ¼ cup of Quinoa to 3 cups boiling water and let cook for 8 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ cup oats, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla and cook another 5 minutes. Quinoa is a whole grain packed with protein!

I like to add a few pecans, a sprinkle of Purvia (a sweetener from the Stevia plant) and whatever fruit is in season.

Our body needs a good, protein rich breakfast. Likewise, our soul needs the spiritual food of God’s Word and the life-giving energy that comes from focused time with Him. My husband knows when I’ve skipped my morning “energy boost” with the Lord. He sees it in my countenance and the way I respond to my circumstances. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does he’ll inevitably say, “Did you miss your time with the Lord this morning?” Frankly, it irks me when he says it, but I know what I need to do. I can’t make it through the day without connecting to my Savior first!!

How about you? I implore (yes, I do mean implore) you to make time every morning to feed your body and your soul with the life giving food they need. No excuse is worth the consequences of not implementing what you know is true.  The rest of your day depends on it!!

Four Powerful Words…

What four words will stop even the most “active” child in his footsteps? When asked this question at a conference last weekend I thought of… ‘I love you’—no, that’s three words… ‘Time for dinner!’—three words again… ‘Stop right there young lady!’—five words… When the speaker told us the answer the audience responded as one voice, “of course!” So, what are the four words?

Once upon a time…

Those four words have captured imaginations, young and old, from the beginning of time. The master storyteller can sway the direction of a culture, for good or for ill. Our kids hear stories in a plethora of venues and their young minds are being shaped by what they read and hear.

The speaker also asked what movies have had the most negative impact on our culture. Horror movies or extreme violent movies were common answers. Mine was a bit different. Movies that erode our view of God are far more dangerous than violence and horror alone.

Bridge to Terabithia blatantly attacked the idea that Jesus is the only way to God and taught that a truly loving God will let you in to Heaven simply because you’re cute and sweet. I doubt most parents picked up on it, but I assure you the message was logged into your child’s brain and will re-surface one day…maybe in college? The Golden Compass also came to mind. The movie was extremely well done and shrewdly effective at undermining who God really is.

Read what your children read and watch what your children watch. It’s time consuming and it can be boring (I’m not interested in most of the shows they like), but it’s the only way to know what stories are filling their minds and shaping their hearts. My kids read much faster than me now, but I still try to skim most of the books they read. I want to be able to talk about it with them and help them think through the truth of what they’re reading.

The next time you cuddle up with your family to watch a movie or read a book, ask yourself, “What is this communicating about the character of God?” and then talk about it with them. These “Once upon a time” moments will prove precious and powerful!

Home Again!

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Our summer was full to overflowing and time got away from me. We traveled through 14 states, ate way more than we should have, enjoyed rich relationships (much more than we deserve) and saw God at work everywhere we went. I have so much to share with you! I thought about writing a “what I did this summer” blog, but it was too long and too overwhelming. You’ll probably hear bits and pieces over the next few months but I won’t bore you with it all at once!

I want to leave you with one thought for today; God is at work in a big way! Everywhere we went we heard stories of how God is working. It’s easy to be discouraged when so many negative stories fill the newspapers and airways. Sometimes I need to step back and look for what God is doing in the midst of the challenges. State after state, city after city we heard stories of God’s faithfulness, mercy, love, power, presence and Spirit-given joy and peace. God’s people are waking up to the reality that God really is bigger than any problem they face. His Spirit is breaking the chains of doubt and fear. Such an awakening cannot help but spark a fire!!

Bless you dear friends! Whether you feel it or not, God is at work in your life and in the lives of those you love! Read Psalm 145 (preferably the New Living Translation) and be encouraged!!

The eyes of all look to You in hope; You give them their food as they need it. When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
Psalm 145:15-16