Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bunnies Vs Rabbits

Last night while looking out of our bay window, the kids and I spotted a rabbit hopping in the yard.  This is not an uncommon sight for us.  However as the rabbit hopped to the right, we saw a small, grey mound of fur hop after.  Instantly we were all glued to the window as mommy rabbit nursed baby bunny and as they hopped after each other under the maple tree.  As the sun began to set the kids continued to watch and make sure the bunny was protected by his mommy and I marveled at the small size of the creature.  I am sure by the end of the summer; it will be difficult for us to distinguish the mother from the baby as he continues to grow.
My bunnies are rapidly growing too.  My oldest bunny is now 12 and almost as tall as I am.  His voice is becoming deeper and he has his own style and ideas.  He mows the lawn and rides his bike to the store to gather items we need.  Still, when the light is right and his smile big, I still see my little bunny giggling at my jokes or playing cars under the maple tree for hours.  

My middle bunny is now 9 and a lovely little lady.  She has a natural nurture instinct and loves to care for animals, taking care of the neighbors chickens daily.  She is almost in women’s clothing and already wears shoes larger than many women in our family.    She loves to cook for us and has even made recipes with flambĂ© in the directions.   Yet, when she cuddles in my arms after a long day I can still see my little bunny toddling around the yard and playing in the mud or tripping while trying to walk in daddy’s shoes, which are not that big anymore.

My youngest bunny is still very much a bunny, though she is rapidly moving on.  She loves to sing and dance and has her own opinion on style and life.  She independently plays and is content to play at a friend’s house without me.  She can reach the bathroom sink and takes showers, not baths anymore.  Still, when she hugs me tight and looks up at me with her tired eyes, I can still see my little bunny who loves to listen to lullabies and be rocked to sleep.

Lives moves so quickly and before you know it, the summer is over and bunny has become rabbit.  While I will miss the bunny days, I am enjoying the journey of having young rabbits and the joys that this season of life brings.  

Lord, thank You for the blessing of my lovely bunnies.  Thank You for watching over them as they grow and guiding us as we enter new seasons.  By Your Grace, we continue to learn and grow together and for that we are truly grateful.  Amen.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9

Monday, June 18, 2012


This morning Abby shared last night’s dream with me as she often does.  

“We were at a building and one area was marked Heaven, while the other was marked Hell.  There were some kids in the Heaven area with me, but many in the Hell area.  I kept yelling to the kids in the Hell area, ‘over here, come over to Heaven!  It is good in Heaven, you are welcome to come over, hurry!’  But, Mom, they just chose to stay in Hell.  They didn’t care.”

Recently a friend was sharing a sermon he had heard.  In the sermon the Pastor talked about his reply to when people ask him how a loving God could send people to Hell.  The Pastor explains that God does not send people to Hell; rather people choose to go to Hell.  God has made it very clear the path to Heaven is through his Son Jesus Christ and when people deny Him they are making the choice to go to Hell.  

We all sin.  The path to Heaven is not achieved by our perfection, but by His.  Jesus was sent to Earth to live as one of us, with us and then to ultimately die for us and our salvation.  In return, we are only asked to accept Him as our Lord and Savior and He will have a place in Heaven for us to join Him.  Simple, right?

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Very Useful Engine

This week I am volunteering at the church’s annual Vacation Bible School week.  Abby and Emily participate in the activities while Alex and I are in charge of the snack station.  The children are all divided into groups based on ages, preschool, pre-k and kindergarten, first through third and then fourth through sixth.  Following some opening songs and entertainment, the kids all travel with their groups from station to station that include crafts, outdoor games, Bible story and snack.

I have started to know some of the kids that I was not as familiar with and have been told many a story. Today I was informed that one little boy does not ever like oranges and another will not each cheese that is orange in color.  I was also taught that “on purpose” means you wanted to do something and some people still need to wear underwear with their swimsuits.  Yesterday I had a conversation with one little boy that got me thinking.

“Hello, who are you?”  He asked me sternly.

“I am Mrs. Foreman, who are you?”

He thought, “Well I am Patrick.  I like Thomas the Tank Engine, but people at school laugh at me.”

“Well, I like Thomas the Tank Engine, too.  He is a very useful engine.” I replied.

He looked at me inquisitively and then began to quote and ask about each episode I may or may not have seen.  He knew those shows inside and out and even owned the golden engine.   Thankfully for me, Emily had recently taken an interest in the show and I had seen a few episodes.  

What really bothered me about the conversation was of course that he is made fun of for liking the show and character.  He appeared to be in 2nd grade and I could understand why some kids might not like the show anymore, but why tease someone who does?  Have you ever noticed that as children we mock the different and as adults we strive to be the different?

While at a Women of Faith Conference a few years ago, Andy Andrews said something that will stick with me forever.  He stated that if two people were exactly the same that would render one of them useless.  As adults we realize that different ideas and opinions are good and in fact necessary to make society function.   However, as children we desire to fit in to the extent we will point out anyone who does not in order to make ourselves part of the group.

The truth is as humans, we are all not that different.  We all breathe, eat and function in roughly the same manner.  Our thoughts and mannerisms may differ and our culture may create different foods, traditions, or skin colors, but innately we are all the same.  We all desire to be loved, cared for and respected.  We all want to be recognized as smart and helpful and we all hope to be seen as a very “useful engine”. 

Thankfully, God sees us all for who we are.  Despite what this world might see or think they see, God can delve into the depths of our heart and see us for who we are.   Though we may be mocked as children or try desperately to be noticed as adults, we are always special and wonderful in God’s eyes and always a welcome part of His family. 

Thank you, Lord for making me a very useful engine and part of the team.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3:28)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Seasonal Walls

Emily's feet that learned to walk in these halls - 2007
Bob and I have been toying with the idea of moving versus building on to our home for quite some time now.  As our family has grown we have realized a need for more space.  Though we have a gorgeous yard full of perfect climbing trees and space to run around, including woods that the kids have spent many hours of imagination play time in, inside we are getting cramped.  As we have prayed and weighed all of the options, moving seems to come out on top each time.  Though I am hesitant to take on such a task, it seems that this is what our path may be for now.

As the reality of moving out of this home that I have lived in for over a decade sinks in, nostalgia starts to take over my thoughts.  This home is the longest I have lived in any one place in my entire life.  We moved much of my childhood and I was in a different school most years until my sophomore year of high school.  It had become hard for me to stay in a home long without looking to move within a year and this was the first place that I was content enough to stay.  I have realized though, that it is not the walls that have given me this contentment, but rather the people within them.

The walls.  These walls have heard and seen so many things in the last eleven years.  Three children have learned to walk in this home, two have never known anywhere but this as home.  There have been numerous game nights, baking adventures and movie nights.  We have hosted numerous birthday parties, picnics and Christmas Eve family nights.  Santa has come to find us at this location for 11 Christmases.  The pantry doorway has markings dating back to 2003, when Alex was 3 and Abby 1, with measurements of their heights.  A third set was added in 2008 for Emily.  The markings go until present and currently Alex’s section spans over 30 inches.  Do you think the new owners would mind if we took the door frame with us? 

Abby's 2nd birthday - 2004
While all the memories start to hit me hard in the heart, even before we have put the for sale sign up, I know that this season is ending and a new one is in store for us.  If this is the right path for us, the house will sell and we will find a new home perfect for our growing needs.  We will have new memories, new game night locations and new trees to climb. Maybe we will get a bigger kitchen for more baking adventure and I am fairly certain we will have a new door frame for measurements.  Things will never be the same, but if they were it would make all of our memories less meaningful.  So now we move on to new walls, new memories and a new season.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a  time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. - (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Alex and Abby out front - 2005

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gluten Free Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are days where the selfishness that surrounds me is suffocating.  When it seems as those I count on can do nothing but let me or my family down.  I have lowered my expectations of others, yet am still often hurt by their selfish ways.  However, I am very grateful that my God will never let me down.  He is the rock I can always stand on and He will never leave me standing alone.   And so I move on, letting His good works shine in those moments where selfishness does not flourish and lastly, I bake cookies.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Gluten Free Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are kid tested and loved.  They stay soft and have a hint of coconut yumminess.

2 Sticks Softened Butter
¾ Cup Packed Brown Sugar
¾ Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
½ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Sorghum Flour
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
½ Cup Coconut Flour
2 Cups Chocolate Chips
¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)

Combine butter, sugars and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs and combine thoroughly.  Add salt, baking soda and sorghum flour and mix until smooth.  Add buckwheat flour and combine completely.   Mix in coconut flour completely and then add chocolate chips and walnuts.  Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets and cool.  Recipe yields approx 48 cookies.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Observations from a Lutheran Church Choir Loft

  1. No one likes to sit in the first four pews.  Although God can see you wherever you may be, the first four pews in church seem to be reserved for the very brave and those celebrating a baptism only.
  2. The more upbeat the music, the stiller the congregation grows, unless children are present.  Adults will eagerly hide behind the undignified dancing of a child and enjoy the movement of the music themselves.
  3. Most people do not bring Bibles to church.
  4. People turn the page while in the middle of a prayer.  Although we are praying to our God Most High, our Savoir, our Holy One, people still know when to turn the page.
  5. The sudden outburst of a young child bothers no one but the parents of that child.  Young children bring joy and smiles to our faces including when they coo or giggle something during the sermon or a prayer.   However, when teenagers giggle and talk through the entire Lord’s Prayer it is not so funny or cute.
  6. No one wants to be the first to stand after the sermon or offering, as if the first one to stand has volunteered to sit in one of the first four pews.
  7. We often sing about lifting our hands, but very rarely are anyone’s hands lifted.
  8. The children’s message is just as valuable and enjoyable to the adults as it is to the children.
  9. When the Pastor sits in the congregation to watch the Vicar’s sermon, those he sits next to sit straighter and REALLY pay wide eyed attention to the sermon that day.
  10. Passing of the Peace has become very social and people enjoy the chance to leave the pews to say hello to a neighbor, provided they do not mistakenly sit back down in of the the first four pews upon return.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheesy Rolls and I am Weak

I Am Weak
I am weak.  I can work out, lift weights, eat right and take vitamins but I am still weak.  I am but flesh and bones, with a system of inefficient processes running through my body.  I cry, I laugh, and I reach for more when there is none to be had.  I eat too much, I eat too little.  I anger quickly, I yell when quiet would be better.  I dream of more when what I have is more than enough.  I resent times that I have said yes and times I have said no.  Sometimes I just want to walk away when standing my ground is the better choice.  I hate when I should love, I love when I should let go.  I despise others for their weakness, when I am guilty of the same.  I am weak.

Thank you Lord for the strength I find in you.  You are my rock, my strength and my salvation.  Without you I am nothing but weak and hopeless.  I yearn for you and your word.  Thank you for the solid gifts of life, love and salvation.  Amen.
There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.  (1 Samuel 2:2)

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheesy Rolls

1 Cup Milk
¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 Cups Tapioca Flour
2 Eggs
½ to 1 Cup of Parmesan Cheese

In a sauce pan, bring milk, butter and oil to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in tapioca flour.  Add eggs, one at a time, along with cheese.  Dump the mixture onto a cutting board or prepared surface to knead the dough until all ingredients are completely combined.   Pull apart approximately 1tbs (or mini cookie scoop) of dough and roll into a ball, placing on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-25 at 350 degrees.  After 15min, flip the rolls to brown on the other side.  Recipe yields 24-28 rolls.