Friday, October 31, 2008

All Things Sacred

I recently read a great post by my friend Ashley called Sacred or Secular. It reminded me of a book I read right after college, the practice of the presence OF GOD by brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in the 1600's. He spent most of his life in the monastery working in the kitchen (sound familiar?) and in his later years he repaired sandals. Exciting huh? He had a lowly position yet because of his peace and character, others were drawn to him and often sought his wisdom on spiritual matters. His secret was continually practicing God's presence. In every moment he constantly practiced turning his thoughts, his heart, his worship towards God. He was in such constant fellowship with the Father, he said, "I have given up all but my intercessory prayers to focus my attention on remaining in His holy presence." Can you imagine walking so closely with God that you no longer had to stop and pray? What if it just flowed naturally out of every little thing you do?

Now don't misunderstand. His message is not about doing things for God. It's about loving God. Loving God without restrictions on when and where and how. This small book is a collection of letters and conversations and I highly recommend it. I don't have much analysis, I just wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and be reminded that all things can be done to the glory of God.

Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?

Never tire of doing even the smallest things for Him, because He isn't impressed so much with the dimensions of our work as with the love in which it is done.

If we only knew how much we need God's grace, we would never lose touch with Him.

It isn't necessary to be too verbose in prayer, because lengthy prayers encourage wandering thoughts...If your mind wanders at times, don't be upset, because being upset will only distract you more.

We must try to converse with God in little ways while we do our work; not in memorized prayer, not trying to recite previously formed thoughts. Rather, we should purely and simply reveal our hearts as the words come to us.

The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with Him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.

I could go on and on but the book is so little, I wanted to save plenty for you to discover on your own. Meanwhile, as you change diapers, return phone calls, fold clothes, attend meetings... whatever you do, remember that He is with you. Practice His presence.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tricky Treats

Okay, for those of you at MOPS yesterday who wanted to know how to make the cute little pumpkin cakepops, here you go.

First, no I'm not that creative. I didn't make these up, I'm just good at copying. As you can see, the originals look much cleaner than mine. I'm not sure how she gets the candymelts that smooth. If anyone has any tips, please share. I wish I had a picture of mine but, thankfully, you ate them all up! My cakepops were a combination of these amazing treats invented by the ever so talented and widely famous Bakerella...

And these sweet treats inspired the insides of my pumpkin pops...

Thanks and full credit for the pumpkin spice cake idea go to Bridget at LOVE her site. She is so talented and I found her blog courtesy of my sister-in-law Montee. Okay, so here's what I did.

1. I bought and baked a pumpkin bread from a mix right out of a box (no cans of pumpkin or anything hard like that). I let it cool completely and then crumbled it all up with my hands in a large bowl.
2. I used about 3/4 of a can of ready made cream cheese icing and mixed it completely with the caked. It ended up looking like a bunch of mush. Add the icing a little at a time so you don't get too much. You want it to be sturdy enough to shape it.
3. Shape the mixture into truffle size balls and put on wax paper on a cookie sheet.
4. If you're going to do pops, dip the tip of stick in a little bit of melted orange Wilton candymelts and then still into the cake ball.
5. Put the whole thing in the fridge to let them get a little more solid and sturdy.
6. Dip the balls in melted orange Wilton candymelts and then stick pops in styrofoam to dry. If you're not making pops, just put them on more wax paper. Bakerella used tic tacs for the stems, I used green cereal pieces from a sugared kids cereal. You could also probably use pretzels for stems. Stick on the stems before the candy can harden.
7. When everything is completely dry, use an edible pen from Betty Crocker to draw on faces. Done.

I got the lollipop sticks and orange Wilton candymelts in the craft section of Walmart. I got the pumpkin bread mix, icing, and edible ink pens in the baking section of Walmart. It was really super easy and fun and here are some examples of some of the other spooky treats Bakerella made.

You can use any cake mix and icing so I am going to try some different combos. Red velvet cake with cream cheese icing dipped in white or dark chocolate, chocolate cake with chocolate icing dipped in a minty dark chocolate coating...the possibilities are endless. Let me know if you try these and how it works out. If you want more detailed instructions, check here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Teaching Children Spiritual Truths

Last night while we were on our way home from dinner, Big Sister and I had an important conversation about deep spiritual truths...sort of.

Big Sister: Mama...what is faith?

Me: is when you believe something even though you can't see it. Like, we believe in God even though we can't see Him.

Big Sister: (Very joyfully) And I believe in God so I have faith!

Me: Right! (Whew) Why did you ask me that?

Big Sister: Wait mama, first I need to ask you about two more things.

Me: Okay.

Big Sister: Okay mama, so...what is trust?

Me:'s kind of like faith. It's when you can believe that something someone tells you is true...or when you can tell someone a secret and you know they won't tell? (Okay so I kinda struggled with this one)

Big Sister: Hmmm.

Me: It's like when I tell you I'm going to take care of you, you can trust me because you know I'm telling you the truth.

Big Sister: (Smiling again) Okay so I trust you so I have trust!

Me: Right! (Thinking we're on a roll now and ready for number three) So what's the last one?

Big Sister: What was it again? (thinking very seriously) Oh yeah, so I believe in God so I have faith...

Me: Yeah.

Big Sister: And I can trust you so I have trust...

Me: Yeah.

Big Sister: yeah...pixie dust. I don't have pixie dust.

Me: What?

Big Sister: Tinker Bell says if you have faith, trust, and pixie dust, you can fly.

Turns out, what I thought was a spiritual conversation was actually a Peter Pan conversation.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If One is Good, Two is Better!

This is what happened when Little Sister found her other passie tonight.

Mmmm, mmmmm, good. What do you think my chances are of ridding her of this vice by the end of the year? I'm thinking it could be a little...challenging.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Little Sister baffles me sometimes. She's so cuddly and sweet and full of smiles but...she's about to turn three. Everyone talks about the terrible twos and no one tells you about the torturous tantrum throwing threes. She'll be three soon and she's already showing the signs. By three they can speak well enough to really bless you out and embarrass you in public. I've mentioned before that we walk to school (when it's not raining of course). Big Sister is in kindergarten and I had all these Norman Rockwell visions of what that would be like. We'd wake up with birds singing, eat pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse, put on our cute new school clothes, grab the tote bag and lunchbox and walk to school, all the while singing songs, picking flowers, and waving to friends.Well...

Honestly it's not that far off. Really. With one exception. I wasn't factoring Little Sister into the equation. This child wants to sit on my lap, climb on me, and sleep in my bed. Basically, she gropes me all day long. Whenever we go up or down the stairs she insists on holding my hand. Now here's the part that baffles me. For some reason, when we're walking Big Sister to school and we get ready to cross the street, she WILL NOT hold my hand. She throws a huge fit and spends the entire time screaming, "LET GO ME!" (yes, that's "let go me" and not "let me go") and trying to wrench her hand free from my death grip. We go through this routine every day. I've even started leaving a little bit early just to deal with it. It now includes every parking lot. The church, the store, the park...whenever there are cars around, she refuses to hold my hand. Finally, one day I got down on her level and said calmly, "Do you see all these cars? They're very dangerous. You have to hold my hand. I'm going to keep you safe even if it makes you mad." I grabbed hold of her hand, squeezed tight, and dragged her across the street. We have to have this little talk now several times a day. I've shortened the speech to simply, "I'm going to keep you safe even if it makes you mad." Over and over. Sometimes, she will reluctantly and loosely take my hand and pout.

Last week, my Bible study was called "The Hedge that Protects". We studied verses that all had to do with how God protects us. When we were watching the video of Priscilla Shirer talking about this "hedge that protects" it made me think about Little Sister and me. When I'm wanting to do things my way, when I'm trusting in myself and not God, am I any different? How many times have I misread his protection for punishment? His rescue for restriction? How many times were there dangers lurking out there and when God stuck out his hand to me I threw a big ole tantrum and screamed, "LET GO ME! I DO IT MYSELF!" Or maybe sometimes I reluctantly gave Him my limp hand and loose grip and pouted the whole way?

I can already imagine how He might really bring this lesson home to me. I'm stuck in traffic and fuming over the hold up and then he condescends to me and calmly speaks to my heart, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad." I've once again gotten in the slowest line at the grocery store and while I tap my foot impatiently he whispers, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad." The refrigerator breaks down again taking all of our "fun money" and while I'm pouting over the missed restaurants and movies I hear, "I'm going to keep you safe, even if it makes you mad."

I don't know how it all works. I'm not even as perceptive as an almost three-year-old compared to God. I'm infinitely more clueless. Those speeding cars look like lots of fun to me. But I hope that more often I will trust Him. That I will grab hold of His hand, hold on tight, find security in his grip and say, "Okay, LET'S GO!"