Pancakes for Breakfast

We rarely make breakfasts — it’s usually oatmeal, since that’s what we have time (and patience) for.  But this morning, we decided to make pancakes.

I remembered one of my favorite cookbooks has a pancake recipe, so I pulled it out and whipped it up.

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The cookbook is one that I got in Belize, on either my second or third trip.  Coming from an American missionary family, it’s a mix of American and Belizean recipes — and they’re wonderful.

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Whisking the ingredients together this morning I couldn’t help but let my mind wander back.  Every morning while I was living there I’d go into the kitchen and help with breakfast.  Miss Blanca and Kelly would be starting to put on their aprons and pull out pots and pan.

The menu rotated, and was dependent on how many mouths there were to feed.  When teams were there the recipes were multiplied many times; cooking would start early so the limited bakeware could be used two, three, four times.

Conversation was always pleasant, and the music would be going for the whole base to hear.  Someone would get the coffee going, and we’d take turns adding sweetened condensed milk as creamer.  We’d get dishes washed and dried as food was baking, and the day’s plan for food and cleaning would be laid out.

Some mornings we’d get beans going on the stove while the muffins or fryjacks baked.  We’d make sure each table had enough napkins and set out whatever condiments we’d need for breakfast.

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When the crowd — team or no team, it was a crowd — came for breakfast, we’d watch as our slaved-over meal was devoured in less than ten minutes.  But bellies were full, and everyone was off to face the day.

I snapped back to my own current reality, taking pancakes off the pan and pouring on more batter.  I miss those mornings in the kitchen, learning from Miss Blanca and Kelly and experiencing a different way of life.

I miss cooking for a minimum of ten every day, starting early and ending after everyone had left.  I miss learning from natives and laughing with them as I made mistake after mistake.  I miss the service of providing meals for so many people day in and day out.

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For now, I get to serve two.  I am blessed to serve them breakfast, lunch, and dinner and watch as they devour the food in a blink.  In time our family will grow and maybe someday I’ll be able to serve 10+ again — but right now, I’m thankful for the privilege of serving my two guys.

I’m even able to serve them Belizean pancakes for breakfast.  :)

Dear Diary

It’s been really busy.  It was Christmas a little time ago, and it was fun and we did a lot of stuff.  Mommy and Daddy said it was a special day for God and they’re gonna tell me more as I get older.  Cuz they tried to tell me some things and I don’t really get it.

Mommy put a tree in the house and then she put little lights on it too.  It was nice, but I couldn’t reach it and she didn’t let me try much.  On the day that was Christmas Daddy got me up and carried me out to see the tree and there were all these things around it.  Later we got to take them apart and I got some new toys!

The things were annoying because I had to rip them apart and I couldn’t see if there was anything inside.  But Mommy and Daddy helped me and then I found the toys – and I love them.  The toys, I mean.  But I love Mommy and Daddy too.

So I’ve been playing with my toys a lot and Mommy plays with me too.  And then Daddy plays when he gets home.  He’s so funny.

Last night before I went to sleep Daddy started making new sounds and shaking his head around crazy.  It made me laugh a lot!  Then he told Mommy to try (he said, “Be like a rock and roll” I think) and so she did and it was really funny.  I almost fell off Daddy because I was laughing.  And then she did it again when she was putting me to bed, which was really funny too because she doesn’t play at bedtime.

But anyways, I think it’s time to play with another toy so I’ll write later.  Okay?

Sincerely,

Me

Merry Christmas!

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Whether you’re in a cold, snowy place or a warm, sunny place — I pray you and I spend this Christmas grasping the significance of God’s gift to us.  The Creator, sending His only Son to the creation; in the form of a little baby.  We can rejoice because of this Gift!

Merry Christmas, friend!

In Mary’s Arms

The angel – Gabriel – he told me You’d be coming.  Told me not to worry, that I had somehow found favor with God; that God was giving You to me.

A Gift, though for most of these nine months I think I might be the only one who sees You as that.  Joseph has married me still and believes – I’m so grateful God told him too.  He knows You’re a Gift.

At first I thought You’d be like any other child, but special, maybe? since I’d never known a man and didn’t see how I could be pregnant.  But he told me You were from the Holy Spirit, and therefore You would be holy.

It took me a minute to catch up with what he’d said after that.  Holy.  The babe inside me, holy?  How could this be?  It humbles me.

How do I nurture a holy child?  Discipline a holy child?

Oh Little One, You’ll teach me more than I’ll ever teach You.

Staring into Your eyes, sweet boy, You’re the most precious of precious babes.  I’ve thought of so many things to share with You, when we get back home.  For now we’ll just take each other in.  I want every minute I have with You, Little One.

Those shepherds just leaving, they came to see You.  Did You know who they were?  I wonder what goes on in that tiny head of Yours… how much You already know.  The men watched You in awe, having been told by angels that You had arrived.

Oh Little One, what have I been swept into?  That the world would know You, my son, a king — the King from Heaven.  God’s Son —

You aren’t mine, Little One.  I thought I’d have that bond every mother has with her child, knowing I’m the one to keep You going and sustain You, nurture and teach You; that bond that’s indescribable and automatically there.  It came, Sweetheart, but it’s different.  I’m not Your end-all.

I’ll be here to wipe Your tears and carry You; I’ll hold Your hands as You learn to walk; I’ll teach You everything I know.  But You don’t belong to me, and I wonder how much You really need me.  You’re the Son of the all-powerful God.

What a gift.  I suppose every child is a gift from God — surely, yes; absolutely.  But You… You’re straight from God Himself, with no man involved.  I don’t understand, my Dear, but I believe.

Your faith — is it greater than mine already?  I don’t have much as it is.  What things will I learn from You, Little One?  You wrinkle Your nose and stretch those hands and I can only hold You close in amazement.  God come to Earth, here in my arms.

I can’t imagine where Your life will take You, Little One.  You’ll learn woodworking with Joseph, and I’m sure You’ll learn all that You can from the priests — unless You’re the one teaching them?

You’ll be a king, on the throne of David; You’re the Holy One, the Son of God.  I thank God for His mercy toward me, though I’m at a loss for how to handle all of this.  How best to handle You, Sweetheart.

Come closer, Little One.  Let’s go to bed now and remember today.  I have a feeling we’ll have to go forward slowly, one day at a time.

I love You, Little One.

I love You, Jesus.

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Read the full story — Matthew 1 & 2, Luke 1 & 2.

Dear Diary

Remember how I said I’d tell you if I tried my new trick again?  You know, the “Scare the Parents” one?  I tried it again today

We had to go get food and I was in the cart, and I was reeeeeally bored.  We were going around in the store forever and Mommy wasn’t actually giving me any of the food, she was just putting it all in the cart.  Why.

So then we got to the end part at the place where the people put all the food into bags and then I can’t see it anymore.  I didn’t want to lose my chance so I turned around and pushed with my legs and I almost got over but Mommy saw me and made me stop.

I was close.  I smiled at people and gave them my scrunchy-face, and it made everyone laugh.  I had these things on my feet (I think Mommy called them shooos); they made it harder to push because I’m not used to them.  But I tried real hard, because Mommy was taking food out of the cart and putting it on the moving thing and so she wasn’t really paying attention to me, at least that’s what I thought.  I guess she was though.

I tried real hard twice and she stopped me both times.  But the second time she started laughing, and I don’t know if that was because I’m so funny or because another person made a joke.  Or maybe it was because she was trying to distract me.

Mommy is sneaky sometimes, so I think I’ll have to try again.  Maybe next time I’ll make faces at someone who will make faces back, because then sometimes Mommy starts talking with those people and I can do my trick.  I’ll let you know, okay?

Sincerely,

Me

A Moment to be Thankful

Quietly sipping my second cup of coffee after a failed nap attempt…  Being sick is a bummer, but being sick with an 8-month-old is another ballgame.  Thankfully it seems to just be a headcold, but man am I tired.

So, as I wait for the little man to wake up from his [successful] nap, I’m scrolling through photos from his 8-month photoshoot the other day.  We had so much fun with them!

Days like yesterday and today are challenging for a new mama — and I’m guessing for an “old” mama too, even if she’s handled them a few times?  Trying to take care of yourself to fight the illness and get healthy while caring for the little one(s) can be difficult.

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Levi has decided this week that when he’s awake he needs to either be walking (with our hands) or pulling himself up.  Not, you know, just sitting or army crawling and playing with toys.  (I mean really, who does that anymore?)

He’s way too fun.  And hilarious.  And ex-haust-ing.

Instead of getting incredibly frustrated and mad at the little things, which I can do easily when I’m tired and sick, I’m scrolling through photos to remind myself of our blessings.  Our little one is healthy, growing, learning, and so adorable.  Josh is gone all day because he has a job that pays our bills and keeps us warm.  I get to stay home with Levi and be his teacher, his nurturer, even when I’m sick.

We have toys I can rotate to keep Levi busy.  And tupperware.  But when my creativity runs out, there’s Pinterest.  (And my mom and mother-in-law!)  We have a snowsuit so we can go play in the cold snow and get some fresh air.

We have a lot to be thankful for!  Even now that my time is up for writing.

Enjoy the photos, and I hope you’re inspired to count your own blessings.  :)

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**I actually finished this post three hours after I started.  We ate, took a walk to the mailbox, walked around the house, turned on Christmas music and lights, climbed on the chairs, pulled all the tupperware out of the cabinet, started dinner, ate again, and currently are talking jibberish and jumping in the saucer.  My coffee is still on the table.  Ha!

Dear Diary

It’s Monday again.  This Monday I woke up and Daddy was gone already and Mommy picked me up and took me to the window.  Every time there’s white stuff outside she wants me to see it.  There was white stuff on the floor and the trees and everywhere — it was nice.  But the windows are really cool!  They feel good and I like playing with them.  I always play with them when Mommy wants me to look outside.

There’s a new thing here too, it’s called a tent I think.  Mommy and Daddy said it came from a friend and now it’s for me.  I like to read in it and play with my toys, and then I like to come out because Mommy is out.

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I have a big box of all my toys in it, and I like to sit on the floor and pull them all out to see them.  And eat them.  Right now my leg is in the box and it feels funny… and I don’t know how my leg got there because I don’t think I did it.  So I’m going to crawl and see if it comes out.  Oh, it did — and I found my ball.  Now I’m going to play with that!

I’m off my blanket and the floor is cold but now I can go all over the house and that’s a lot more fun than the blanket.

But Mommy just called to me and so I think I’ll go see her.

Well maybe after I climb in my saucer.

Sincerely,

Me

To the Brokenhearted

It doesn’t seem real, losing a loved one.

Unexpected, sudden, unforeseen.

A husband, a father of two, a leader and teacher.  A man who built a business through hardship and grit; he took what he had and multiplied it.  The carpentry and design – it was never for him, always for others.

His wife of 25 years supported and encouraged and served; their love was strong and deep.  His children adored him and the time they spent with him.  He loved them with all of his being.

He was known in his community, thought of highly and respected.  He coached and cultivated an attitude of perseverance; he gave back and looked for opportunities.  Life wasn’t something he took for granted.

Yet it’s too young, 56 is.

He won’t celebrate half a century of marriage with his beloved wife.

He won’t walk his precious daughter down the isle, kiss her and wipe away his own tears.

He won’t watch his son, his pride and joy, take over the business and raise his own family.

He will miss so much.

The void is big in those left behind; the gaping hole in their hearts no other human will fill.  How to move on?  How to process, come to terms with it — deal with the injustice?

Maybe moving on isn’t what happens, but moving forward?

Processing, sitting alone and quiet, even throwing fists up at God and asking why.  How.  Why now.  Why him.

The well-meaning people come and go, the busyness increases and the flowers and cards and messages pour in.  It’s good, to see all the thoughtfulness and care and the support people give.  And it’s overwhelming, you and them and them and you and no him.

Grieve.  Let it come.  Things can wait; hearts need to mend.

Pray.

And as you put one foot in front of the other, know that there are others who love you, and who are praying to our trustworthy God on your behalf.

 

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20b

Freely Give

“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.'”

Matthew 10:5-8

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Do you remember when you were saved?  Maybe there was a moment in time you knew you were His; maybe it’s not a specific hour but a matter of years you’ve known.  And you’ve lived in relationship with Him, known His goodness, His liberty and peace.

He has taken you from bondage to sin, from being dead in sin and unable to get out on your own — He has taken you from that, rescued you from that, and given you life.

What did it take?  To go from death to life, bondage to freedom?  It took repentance and faith, did it not?  You confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.  No longer did you have to wallow in your sins and try in vain to erase them.  He took you in an instant and cleansed you, allowed you to live wholly and joyfully.

“Freely you have received, freely give.”

Your salvation was free to you.  He paid the price, you received the gift.  It’s the greatest gift you could and can ever receive; there will never be a gift of more value than your salvation.  You have the greatest gift.  You have all you need.

If you know the greatest gift and how it’s gained, give it to others.  You cannot provide salvation itself, but you can provide knowledge to those seeking it.  You can share your hope, your joy and your assurance.

Live in your salvation; acknowledge it day-to-day, thanking Him for His gift to you.  Resist the urge to be ashamed of Him, or embarrassed because of Him; you don’t live for man, you know.  Freely share His gift with others, and pray that they too may receive it.  Crave that others may know Him.

“Freely you have received, freely give.”