Faith, Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

They Call Me Mom

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As a little girl, I dreamed of being a mom. I wanted at least six children. I came from a family of five kids, so six seemed like a good number. I know. Crazy, right? Several years later, and after several years of marriage, I had two sons. Two beautiful boys. God chose me to be Dylan and Joshua’s mom. There aren’t enough words for me to express my love for my children.

The mug in the picture was a birthday gift from my boys last year. They gave me a bunch of very thoughtful things in that gift, but I love this coffee mug. I love big mugs since I drink a lot of coffee and I love that it says “Mom”. A title I dreamed of having for so many years. God made my dream come true.

I remember when I was finally alone with newborn Dylan. My husband had gone back to work and it was me and this tiny human. What was I going to do with him? How was I going take care of a baby all day, every day? I was overwhelmed.

Being a brand new mom with a brand new baby is like being dropped in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. 

In the beginning I flailed in that deep water. My baby wouldn’t nurse. My baby wouldn’t sleep. I experienced my first “Mom guilt”. Great, I can’t even feed my baby. I loved my new baby dearly, but my dream didn’t look as I imagined. Lord help.

Slowly things got better. Dylan began to eat and sleep. I found a rythm as a mom. My confidence built. My prayers grew daily. My “mom” instincts kicked in. And in a short amount of time I felt like an actual mom.

Mom’s do crazy things for our kids because of our crazy love for them.

Mom’s sleep on the floor of our baby’s room right next to the crib, when our baby has the croup.

Mom’s stay up all hours of the night with a newborn, feeding and holding them.

Mom’s change diaper, after diaper, after diaper.

Mom’s haul everything but the kitchen sink in those diaper bags.

Mom’s volunteer at the school, at the church, for the team, or at whatever our kid’s are participating in, just to be close to them.

Mom’s make meal, after meal, after meal.

Mom’s wipe down high chairs countless times.

Mom’s empty potty seats, and watch the potty video over, and over again.

Mom’s wipe noses, and rear ends, and anything else in between.

Mom’s drive our kids to practice, play dates, parties, and school.

Mom’s hold our children tight when they are afraid.

Mom’s kiss the boo-boo and apply the band aid.

Mom’s cheer our kids on when they think they can’t do it.

Mom’s cry when our kid’s cry.

Mom’s laugh when our kid’s share a knock-knock joke, or two, or three.

Mom’s call the advice nurse a few dozen times.

Mom’s make the birthday cake, and decorate it with our kid’s favorite character.

Mom’s pray, and pray, and pray for our children.

There is nothing quite like a mother’s love. God made mom’s special.

I have made many mistakes with my boys. I have lost my temper and yelled at them more times than I can count. I have said “I’m sorry” many times. My boys have said “I’m sorry” many times. As a mom, I’ve learned what real unconditional love really means. I understand the love God has for me in a whole new way.

Being a mom has brought me to my knees, asking for God’s help, wisdom, and mercy. I cannot be the mom God called me to be without Him. I can’t do it in my own strength. I wasn’t supposed to.

 

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This photo booth picture was taken about twelve years ago. It was right after a camping trip. A kind of exhausting camping trip. Joshua was three and was a handful. He spent a lot of time in his car seat in “time out”. Not a dreamy camping trip with a naughty toddler, but still fun. It was nice to stop in a local arcade at the Oregon Coast and just have some fun. Laughter is such a great release from stress. I love that you can only see Joshua’s eyes and nose.

Those amazing boys call me “Mom”. It’s an honor and a privilige to spend time with two funny, brilliant humans. And yes, we laugh a lot. You’ve got to laugh as often as possible, especially when you’re a mom.

Thank you Dylan and Joshua for the joy I get in being your mom. I love you this much (picture my arms spread out) and more. My love for you is bigger than the earth, moon, and stars. God’s love for you is the biggest, beyond measure.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom. You have a unique calling. May God bless you abundantly.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11, NIV 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

21

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Twenty-one years ago this sweet baby made me a mom. April 19th, 1999 changed my life forever. I had the privilege of giving birth to this amazing human. Dylan Joseph came into our world and made it full. He was the person we’d been waiting to meet, we just didn’t know it.

We had a few years of just being a couple before the exciting news of a pregnancy changed everything. With great anticipation we decorated the nursery, and took those birthing classes, and did all the usual things new parents-to-be do.

Nothing really prepares you for being a mom though. Sure, I asked my mom questions and talked with other new moms. I read a few books. It was all this very wonderful dream come true.

When the day arrived for Dylan’s birth I was nervous and excited. Once I laid eyes on him that was it for me. It was a done deal. This precious one had my heart and he still does. He’ll always be my baby, even if he is 6′ 5″. Doesn’t matter. Both my boys will always have my heart.

So my perfect baby is now a full grown man. How did that happen? Where did the time go?

When I was pregnant with Dylan other moms would say, “Treasure each moment. It goes by so fast”. I didn’t think very much of their words at the time. I was just happy to be a mom and hold my little baby. Twenty-one years later, those women were right. It’s gone. All of it.

No more baby. No more toddler. No more little boy. No more teenager. He’s a man.

Dylan is a wonderful person. I’m not just saying that. He’s the kind of person you want to hang out with. He is fun loving, kind, thoughtful, hardworking, driven, creative, smart, easy going, and just an incredible human being.

And yes he’s handsome, but it’s who he is that makes him so attractive. Dylan’s heart is big for the hurting.

A couple of years ago he was working in Houston at a computer repair shop. He had a short commute that involved seeing some of our city’s homeless people. I found out later that Dylan would hand out his lunch to the homeless on the way to work each day.

I wish my husband and I could take full credit for his character. We have influenced him, and we pray he takes the good stuff from us, and ditches the bad. But it wasn’t all from us. It took three of us to raise him, mom, dad and Jesus.

Dylan loves Jesus and that makes this mama happy!

I had the joy of leading Dylan to the Lord when he was five. He’s never looked back. It’s his relationship with Christ, not mine. He inspires me with his faith.

“To live like Jesus. To serve others and to put others first.” ~Dylan

Those words are not just a nice saying to Dylan. That’s his view of his faith and what it means to be a Christian.

I am grateful to know such a special person. I love spending time with him. I love talking with him and getting his view on anything. He is hilarious and can do the best impersonations. He brings so much joy to our family and we are blessed to call him son.

Happy 21st birthday Dylan! You are a great treasure to us. Our lives are rich having you in them.

“Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
children, a reward.” (Psalm 127:3, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

Homemade Pop Tarts

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Pop tarts are not something I normally purchase. My husband has a sweet tooth, and usually buys pop tarts for camping or road trips. The boys love them too. I’ve never been a big fan. They are a bit dry and bland to me. So, I stay away from them. But not anymore.

These tempting homemade pop tarts will make you want to bake. The light, buttery, flaky crust melts in your mouth. These are nothing like the store bought ones. If you are already a pop tart fan, these will put a smile on your face. The memories will come flooding back of those childhood days.

You can customize the tarts with any filling you like. I made strawberry and grape at the request of my family. Brown sugar cinnamon is a very popular flavor. Chocolate, hazelnut spread, or just about any fruit filling would be delicious. Make your own filling or use store bought jams and spreads. Experiment with different flavors.

Get the kids involved in this one. Have each child customize their own pop tarts with their choice of fillings. Also, let them color the frosting and add sprinkles. Kids love to personalize what they cook, and it’s a great way to get them in the kitchen. Cooking is creative. Let those kids create. And yes, they will make a mess. It’s O.K. Baking and cooking should be positive experiences. 

If there are no kids in your life, be a kid yourself. Have fun with this one. Don’t forget to share these sweet pastries with someone else. A friend, neighbor, co-worker, cousin, store clerk, or anyone would enjoy a homemade pop tart. Spread the love. 

All my bakers out there, you’ll have fun with these pop tarts. All my non-bakers, don’t be intimidated. You can do this. They aren’t difficult, just a little bit time consuming. You can use your own pie crust recipe. You can use the one I’m giving you. Or, just buy pie crust dough from the grocery store. 

Give these heavenly pop tarts a try. You won’t regret it. 

Happy Eating!

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good;

blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

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Homemade Pop Tarts 

 

Ingredients

Pastry Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

 

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

 

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

½  teaspoon vanilla

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

 

Filling:

Fruit jam

 

Make the pastry.

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. (You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture. Use a fork or pastry blender to combine the butter and flour together until it’s a coarse crumb (pea-size). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until combined. Add the egg/milk mixture to the dough. Mix everything together with a fork until combined. It will be sticky and crumbly. Knead lightly on a floured surface until the dough is smooth, not sticky.

 

Divide the dough in half.

Take one half of the dough and roll it out on a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12 ½ inch by 9 ½ inch rectangle. Using a ruler, measure a 12 by 9 inch rectangle and cut. Then measure 9 squares, each one measuring 3 inch by 4 inch, and cut those. Transfer each square with a spatula onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 

 

Make the egg wash.

Whisk together egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush egg mixture on each pastry square.

 

Place filling on pastry.

Put about 1 tablespoon of filling on each pastry square. Leave about ½ an inch or slightly less on the edges. 

 

Roll out the other half of the dough.

Repeat the same process as with the first half. Roll out a rectangle that’s approximately 12 ½ inch by 9 ½ inch. With a ruler, measure a 12 inch by 9 inch rectangle and cut with a knife. Measure 9 squares that are 3 inch by 4 inch each, and cut those. Brush with egg wash and place on top of pastry squares that have filling on them. (The egg wash side faces the filling for both pieces of pastry.)

 

Seal the pop tarts.

Once the pop tarts are assembled, gently press the seams together. Making sure all sides are sealed. Poke the tops with a fork several times to vent. Take a fork and crimp all the edges.

 

Refrigerate the prepared pop tarts for 30 minutes, uncovered. 

 

Bake the pop tarts.

Bake in a  350° oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Make the icing. 

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle a small amount (approximately 1 tablespoon) of icing on each pop tart. The icing will run over the sides. Let the icing set up on the pop tarts before moving them. Add sprinkles if you’d like, before the icing is set.

 

Notes

 

  • Make sure to use unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, do not add salt to the dough.
  • The dough will be crumbly after the egg/milk is added and mixed. Keep kneading the dough on a floured surface, and in a short time it will become smooth.
  • You can make this pastry dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for a day or two. Let it get to room temperature before rolling the dough.
  • Some of the filling will spill out during baking.
  • Using milk instead of water in the egg wash helps with browning.
  • Use any fillings you prefer. (cherry, apricot, blackberry, etc.)
  • Play around the consistency of the icing. If you want a thinner icing, like a glaze, use more milk and less powdered sugar.

 

 

Go to the link for my article on Mustard Seed Sentinel.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-homemade-pop-tarts

Family, grief, Uncategorized

Mom’s Legacy

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My mom asked me to write her eulogy. I couldn’t say no. I really didn’t want to, but felt I needed to honor my mom and her request. That conversation took place about 6 months ago. Chemo had stopped, and it was just a matter of time when she would go home. With everything out of control in Mom’s life, she worked on the one thing she could have some say in, her memorial. I’m not sure how many people plan their own memorial’s, but Mom did. It’s very much her personality though. A planner to the end.

I put the eulogy out of my mind. It was too overwhelming, too painful. How could I write a proper eulogy? The word “eulogy” felt heavy. Was I up for the challenge? I kept it out of my mind until December 31st, 2019. Mom’s last day on this planet. My youngest sister Heather and I went right in to planning mode.

Mom left a manila folder with specific music, people to call, and pictures. As each detail was put into place the eulogy was still hanging over my head. I prayed for several days, asking the Lord to give me the words to share. I sat down at the computer the morning I flew out to Oregon. The words came. I wasn’t thrilled with what I wrote, but I had to trust that is exactly what God wanted me to share.

It was a whirlwind once I landed in Oregon. The next day I had to go through some of her stuff at her place. I was tired, and overwhelmed. I pressed on with the help of Jesus and my dear friend Carol. The eulogy was still hanging over my head. I hate speaking in front of people, and how was I going to deliver this message that I wasn’t that thrilled with. At the same time I knew I had to do this. No one else could convey my feelings but me.

I practiced reading the eulogy several times that morning. I thought I could do it. I clung to this passage.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

I thought I was ready. As soon as I got up to the microphone I could barely speak. I paused to catch my breath so I wasn’t just blubbering. I’m sure the pause felt like forever to those in the congregation. In the corner of my eye I caught movement in the front row on the left. I thought Oh great, they are going to usher me off the stage. Poor girl. She’s a mess. 

There was an arm around me. I looked down to find my niece Alyssa next to me. She was hugging me, and suddenly I had courage. That sweet 16 year old girl clung to me, and I didn’t let go of her. The words came out of me, miraculously. Mission accomplished. The eulogy was delivered.

You can read my thoughts below, or not. It’s not formal writing. This is just what came out. I trust God that I honored Mom.

God is faithful, no matter what hard thing you are facing today. You can trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Mom’s Eulogy

January 18th, 2020

 

My mom’s words are forever stuck in my head. And they are good words. I think most mom’s want to leave their kids with advice to get through life. At least the good ones do. My mom was one of the good ones. Here’s just a few of her “mom words” of advice. Words to live by:

 

If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Life isn’t fair.

Don’t burn bridges.

When you borrow something, return it in better condition than when you received it. 

 

These are all very wise, true words. And she was absolutely correct that life is not fair. I’m sure as kids we’d give her the standard “that’s not fair” comment for whatever unfair sibling issue we were dealing with.  

 

Mom’s have the answers to everything when you’re a kid. When we’d need something from her we’d go through the house yelling, “Mom! Mom! Where’s Mom?”

Sometimes she’d answer, “She’s inTahiti!”

Years later I learned that this “mystery” place called Tahiti was pretty spectacular. I can see why she chose such a beautiful place to mentally escape to. 

 

I can only imagine what she juggled with 5 kids. As the recipient of her love and care, it never crossed my mind that mom did a lot. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself, that I really understood just how much she did for us. 

 

Mom did her best to care for us with joy when she could. I can picture her at the kitchen counter mixing up something. Wooden spoon in hand, stirring away, and sort of dancing. She would get this rhythm while she was stirring, and sing. All while cooking. She could’ve grumbled, but she didn’t. 

 

Speaking of wooden spoons, that was her tool of discipline. I don’t recall ever being on the receiving end, but one of my brothers was a few times. I do remember when Heather and I were very young we got the brilliant idea to sneak out of bed after everyone else was asleep. We were pretty proud of ourselves going through the dark house. We stood at the sliding glass door, behind the curtain, just looking outside. We were met with a flannel nightgown and the wooden spoon. The rest is a blurr. We ran back to bed. 

 

Mom took bedtime very serious. Like when the neighbor kids would knock at the door and ask to play with us, and Mom would tell them we were in bed, even though the sun was still out. 

Mom would be laughing right now at herself. We loved to make her laugh, especially when we shared funny stories about her. 

Mom was a big kid. She’d play in the snow with us, or swim in the pool. Or, when we had a VW Bug, she’d make the car hop as she shifted and we thought it was so fun. 

It’s all the little things that I remember and hold on to. 

What will I take with me from my mom, and pass down? What’s Mom’s legacy?

Resilience and faith.

 

Mom bounced back time, and time again through much adversity in her life. She lived with disease and sickness pretty much her whole life, yet she fought. She carried on. She didn’t complain. She grew up poor, and was left alone much of her childhood, yet she never said a bad word about her parents. She loved her parents very much, even my grandpa who was a tough man. 

Resilience was Mom’s middle name. And because of that “don’t give up” attitude she experienced many triumphs in her life as well.

She fought until the end. Doing the best that she should do. Even making sure her grand kids had Christmas cards. She did her very best to love her kids, grand kids, and husband. 

That’s her resilient spirit. I hope I have a tiny bit of that.

Mom had peace about where she was going when she died. Why? Because Mom knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior. 

It all happened back in the early ‘80’s. Mom was invited to a Bible Study. 

She gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was just a social gathering. When Mom arrived at the study she noticed each woman had their own Bibles so she decided she better get a Bible too. The Bible study was on the book of Acts and Mom loved it. For the first time in her life the Bible was alive to her. She was learning and excited. Shortly afterwards she accepted Christ as her Savior. 

I will always be grateful to Mom for meeting Jesus because then she introduced Him to me and the rest of our family. She was forever changed and so were we. I watched her daily read her Bible and get involved in evangelism. She’d blare gospel and worship music in the car. Her new found faith was exciting and she wanted to share the hope she had with others.

There are countless stories and memories that each of us will treasure about Dot. 

 I will always miss my mom but I can’t wait to see her again soon. 

She ran her race. She finished her journey and was lovingly greeted into Jesus’ arms.

 

Mom is free from pain, disease, and suffering. So I rejoice with her. She’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, in heaven. We are made for eternity and Mom knew that. I hope you know that too. 

 

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

 

Faith, Family, God, Uncategorized

It Really Is Grand

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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

“America the Beautiful” popped into my head the other morning as I was walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon. I could hear choirs of angels singing there as well. It’s just that magnificent of a place. It’s hard, almost impossible, not to be moved while visiting the Grand Canyon. All my troubles melted away as I looked out at this exquisite masterpiece made by the hand of God.

If you doubt God’s love, just take a look at that picture. Something that beautiful was made by a loving God for our pleasure. It’s easy to see God as distant, and shaking His fist at us. Like we’re all waiting for the lightning to strike. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We should definitely have holy fear and respect of Him, but we should never doubt His love. He loves you and me so very much. So much so that He sacrificed Jesus, His only son, to save us. (John 3:16) That’s real love.

And, God gave us a beautiful place to live. And, He gave us beautiful places to see and experience, like the Grand Canyon. Thank you God for blessing us with such beauty!

We were in Arizona visiting my in-laws and they blessed us with a few days at the Grand Canyon. It’s been on my list of places to see for several years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to such a wonderful place. Not man-made, God-made. I love architecture, but no one, and no thing can beat the Great Architect. His works are marvelous!

Vacations come with expectations. They should be trouble free, worry free, joyful, relaxing experiences. I know, I know. That’s pretty funny, and completely unrealistic. We go to new places with hopes of soul restoration, fun, and enjoyment. And all of those good things can take place during these getaways, but they come with a price. Both from our pocketbooks, and a little from our souls.

Troubles don’t take vacations. I really want them to. In my mind it’s my vacation. My chance to try and turn off my brain. Break out from the routine, and hopefully get new perspective, get some rest, and make some fun memories. Unfortunately, troubles still come along on our vacations. The little stinkers. Don’t they know I need a break from them. Trouble packs it’s bags too. It’s at the airport, in the hotel room, at the restaurant, and sometimes in our attitudes.

But God is there too. Guiding us, providing for us, and making a way through the troubles that show up.

We started off on our road trip from Tucson to Grand Canyon National Park with excitement, and great anticipation. Yeah! This was going to be incredible. Then red and blue flashing lights rained on our parade. My husband was handed a speeding ticket. Wait a minute, that’s not fun. We were all really annoyed. I know, that’s not a very Jesusy-attitude. Shake it off, and keep moving. Hours later my husband quickly pulls to the side of the highway and throws up. That’s not fun either.

Tom was still able to drive because he’s a determined, tough person. We make it to the park and check in exhausted, and Tom was still very sick. Press on. We see the gorgeous sunset and walk the edge of the rim. Pretty, pretty, pretty, even in the dark. It was very cold that first night, so we all bundled up and went outside to watch the best show of stars. Crystal clear skies with no light interruption gave us perfect views of the Milky Way. These are good things in spite of troubles.

The next morning I sneak out while everyone else is asleep and walk the rim. I see the mules getting ready for their ride down the canyon. Amazing creatures. Hard working, and underappreciated. Just me, Jesus, a few hikers, and that magnificent canyon. I breath in and exhale my troubles with new faith, and new perspective. Dylan and I hike a small part of Bright Angel Trail in the early afternoon.

Rain and cold hits as we step out to take the bus for Hermits Rest. Tom notices a flat tire on our rental car. This is not fun. This is not what a vacation is supposed to be. Stinking troubles just had to come along. After several phone calls, and Tom out in the cold and rain, still sick, inflating the tire, we have a solution. We will swap a new rental car in Flagstaff the next day. Press on.

We made it back safely to my in-laws house on Wednesday night, and flew out the next morning. After a flight delay in Tucson, and a second delayed flight in L.A., we landed in Houston last night. Dylan’s bag never made it to Houston, but it just arrived by courier to our house.

Yes, trouble comes no matter if you are on vacation or not, but God is there too. Do you see Him working? He is, whether you are noticing or not. Troubles make us cry out to our Heavenly Father for help. Troubles keep us humble. Troubles stretch our faith. Troubles give God a chance to show up and show off for us.

On your next vacation when the troubles come along too, God will take care of you. Do you trust Him?

The Grand Canyon really is grand. If you’ve never been I highly recommend making your way to that wondrous place. Breathe in fresh air, quiet, and calm. And see what a loving God made just for our enjoyment.

 

He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Amos 4:13

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I am tired but amazed at God’s goodness. He is faithful. God bless you!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Family, Food, Uncategorized

I Scream, You Scream

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We all scream for ice cream! It’s still officially summer and still quite hot in most of the U.S. You need ice cream. I need ice cream. We all need ice cream, except for the lactose intolerant. But hey, there are really great alternatives now so all can partake. There’s something about an ice cream sandwich that brings joy. You’ve got cookies and ice cream together. That’s a win-win. I have so many memories involving ice cream.

Certain foods can be such an important part of our childhood. I can still hear the ice cream truck music. We’d quickly empty our piggy banks and run to that truck. Another ice cream memory is my birthday party at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. When the Zoo Party was brought out with singing and music, the restaurant paused for a moment to take notice. Exciting childhood memories all involving ice cream.

It’s good to be a kid now and then. For some fun, make these scrumptious, super duper easy ice cream sandwiches.

To get more of my ice cream memories and the directions for the sandwiches, click on the link below.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-ice-scream-you-scream

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Wisdom from Grandma

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For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:7

 

Grandma kept everything. I found these in her kitchen cabinet when we packed up her house in California. At the time I thought they were neat because of the old advertising. Over the years I’ve realized something a little deeper, more significant about these old containers. It’s a lesson I learned from Grandma. She didn’t know she was teaching me, but she did. Elva was her name and she’s my husband’s sweet grandma from Arkansas.

Elva lived in the rural south during the Depression. Nothing was wasted or taken for granted. She used to tell us that as a little girl if it snowed in Arkansas they would make ice cream from the snow. My husband and I would laugh. It sounded silly to us. But now I get it. When you have very little, you use what you’ve got. Today if I bought some ice cream I didn’t like I would throw it out. That would have never happened during those Depression years. It would have been eaten up with joy.

I have had those spices in a large jar on my kitchen counter for years. I was cleaning it out the other day after an ant problem. Grandma came to my mind once again. She wouldn’t throw away something as precious as cooking spices. It got me thinking about contentment. Am I content with my stuff? Do I want more, and more? Do I need more?

This is the era of disposable electronics, and disposable everything. Get the newest phone, we need it. Get the newest car, we need it. Consume it, get bored with it, and get the latest version of said item. Buy, buy, buy, and buy some more stuff. The lines have been blurred of needs and wants. What does the Bible say about contentment?

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:8, NIV)

Paul wrote these words that God gave him. Is food, shelter, and clothing enough for contentment? I think yes. At least I want to think yes. I wrestle with this concept. Is stuff bad? Well, no. We need to eat, and clothing for our bodies, and a roof over our heads. Beyond that, what do we really need? Not much. But what we want, that’s a whole different story. Wants aren’t bad. Stuff isn’t bad. Where does contentment lie in all that for the Christ Follower?

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10, NIV)

The verses about contentment and not holding on to our worldly possessions lead to a warning about loving money. We are given a very real warning about the desire to get rich. Some wandered from the faith, pursuing money instead of Christ. This is still happening today. More money, more stuff. Less contentment. The stuff becomes the pursuit. Jesus is taken out of the picture entirely. That’s a big problem for many reasons. One being, all that money and stuff doesn’t go to eternity with us. Eternity. Forever. Not a single thing we have here on earth leaves with us. (1 Timothy 6:7)

Wait a minute. Then why are we so caught up in buying the latest fill in the blank? We don’t take it with us. We use our stuff for the brief time we are here on this side of eternity. Should we be accumulating as much stuff as possible? The whole “you only live once” and “Hey, I’m not taking it with me anyway. I’m going to buy as much as I want, when I want, and enjoy it all now.” Buy the latest and greatest? No. That’s a dangerous path. We already have the warning about that.

What if we were content right now, today, with what we’ve got? Some of us have lots of nice, shiny, new things. Some of us have old, worn out things. We’ve got things we need and things we want. Many of us pray about these decisions. We can thank God for all He has given us and entrusted us with. We can also ask Him to meet our needs.

My pastor used to say, “There are two things we take to heaven. Our character and our relationships.” Words to live by.

We are not to live miserly and hoard our stuff. We are to be generous.

11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11, NIV)

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17, NIV)

What did I learn from Grandma? Be content with what you’ve got. It’s just stuff. We came into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. Be generous. Be grateful. Don’t pursue money and wealth. Pursue Jesus. Only He brings true contentment.

Love you all,

Meghan