Monday, October 24, 2016

Too Many Toys and To Many Meal Time Troubles

We've all heard the saying, "One thing leads to another."

Well, that must be true because one blog post or one story in a book, is leading to another one.

A new blog post about toys.

Now granted, I'm an old mom, I'm such an old mom that I'm a grandmom.

The good thing is, kids are pretty much made up in the very same way they were made up when I was a young mom.

The blood work or DNA of my kids would be the same of a kid today.

So what's changed?

We have changed?

We've changed.

Some of it is for the better and I think we need to embrace that.

Ezra will get my tablet and he knows how to slide his finger across it so he can see the pictures.

 That's great, I enjoy that.

He knows all about phones and that's okay too.

Like it or not it's where we live and they need to know those things.

They need to be comfortable with them.

So by all means get them some computerized, stuff at an early age.

It's important.

At the same time don't forget the quiet things.

Don't forget to get books.

Don't forget to read books without pictures, I did that often and early with our kids, then I would stop and ask them to describe to me what they saw.

Like when we read Little House on the Prairie I asked them to describe the horses or the wagons or whatever we were reading about.

We played games and we did puzzles.

I had the tv on and I had the tv off.

There wa a time when we didn't have a tv in our living room.

I'm not against tv but I didn't want it to be the focal point of our living room, it didn't want it to be the focal point of our life.

I still don't have a tv in the living room but I want one and as soon as I figure out where to put it I'm going to move one in there.

Now I have one in the kitchen which is probably worse than having one in the living room.

Anyway, back to the toys.

Don't buy to many toys.

Now, when I tell you what we did I'm not saying we did it right, because we did an awful lot wrong, I'm just answering questions.

We had a potato box, a wooden potato box that Mark had built and when the potatoes were gone I asked him to bring it up from the cellar.

I started using it for the kids toys, it was about the size of an average tote.

We had four kids and all of their toys together fit in that box.

They played with all kids of things and not so much with toys.

Sometimes we are the problem, when it comes to toys, we think they need this or they will love that and truth be told they will be excited for about five minutes on average and then they will move on.

Yes, there will be the exception but getting over toys quickly will be the norm so it's up to us not to fall into the oh they want this or need this or I want them to have that trap.

Set about keeping it simple.

Don't talk about keeping it simple, just keep it simple.

Don't think you have to take a trip down the toy aisle every time you go to the store.

When a toy comes in it's okay if a toy goes out, and you don't have to ask the kids about it, you don't have to ask them which one they want to give away.

There will come a time when you can do that but when they are young just don't even go there, you are fixing to upset both them and you, and for no reason.

You are the parent , you make the decision, they will never even notice.

In other words, our kids will follow our lead.

It's the same way with food...people ask about getting their kids to eat.

Just eat.

Sit down and have supper, fix a meal, don't ask them if they like it, don't give them choices, just feed them.

I know that sounds crazy, I don't mean never give them choices but they don't need a lot of choices to early, they can't handle it.

Sometimes it would never even occur to the child to ask for something else but we're to quick to say, "Do you want something else?"

When I said kids had not changed it's true they haven't, we have.

Do you think a child in the 1930s got to say, I want something else?

Do you think their mother would have done that?

No, they learned to eat and  and not complain and because of that, their palate was developed.

Sometimes the easier life gets the more complicated it gets.

We say we don't but we have more money and more time and more ability to waste than any other generation before us and it isn't for the good.

Don't complicate meal time, fix supper, serve supper, don't talk a lot about it, just eat.
If you have already got one that is complaining it's going to be difficult but you can do it.

Take control.

Keep choices simple, don't  be to quick to offer an alternative.

So long story short because really it's pretty simple, just keep it simple, don't over do it on toys and don't over do it at dinner.

Just live and live simply.

I know there are some awful stories about Amish and Mennonite abuse, just like there are stories about people like us abusing our children.

I'm not talking about that right now I want to talk about normal loving Amish and Mennonite parents, mothers in particular.

I've never been in a store
and seen an out of control Amish mother or out of control children.

I've never had them in my home and known them to be disobedient.

I've never been to their home and seen them be that way.

Does it happen, sure it does, but it's not the norm, it's not the norm because they are still parenting the way people parented for years.

They aren't being driven by every new thought or idea about child rearing, they stick with the tried and the true.

The keep it simple.

There is no big program,  there is just common sense and time.

Kids take a lot of that.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fish and Wild Game Wife.... I'm Not

I wish I was the kind of wife that got excited when her husband got a deer, or a squirrel or a mess of fish.

I wish I was the kind that got all proud and excited about what ,my man had done.

But I don't.

I want to.

I would even like to be the kind of wife that wanted to hunt or fish with him....but I don't.

So each night when he brings fish into the condo to clean them, inside I hate it.

Oh I look at them and say how nice it is but inside I'm thinking.....really?

I mean here we are at the ocean...we have a seafood restaurant  on every corner and  yet he has to catch fish,

There are fish markets everywhere, places where you go buy the do that so your wife doesn't look in the sink and find fish heads in it,

But...I'm not that kind of wife..

I like my fish with no bones and I like someone else to fry it. Or bake it or broil it and most importantly, I want the fish heads to be in someone else's  sink.

But...that's not to be, so I fried fish tonight and there are fish heads in the sink  and I have a happy husband.

And after all that's the kind of wife I am....the kind that wants a happy husband,

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Apple Pie the Gray Way

Apple Pie is another one of those fall desserts we all love.

I had my Grandma Marshall's Apple Pie Recipe and my Aunt Daisy Marshall's Apple Pie recipe so I took them and sort of put them together and came up with this Kelly Gray Apple Pie recipe and I've been making it for years.

It's very simple, nothing fancy but when you have something as good as apples, cinnamon and sugar who needs fancy?

I shred my apples, that's the way my family likes it, but you can slice the apples real thinly if you like that better.

This is Lucas' favorite pie and what he asks for on his birthday.

So let's get started.

You're going to need:

6 Granny Smith Apples or any good tart apple
2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, (I always use real butter, sweet cream, salted real butter)
3 Tbsp. cream or half and half will do

Peel and shred or slice the apples and put them in a bowl

Next, Mix the flour, sugars, salt,  and cinnamon together and sprinkle it over the apples, toss until the apples are well coated.

Pour into a pastry lined pie plate.

Place the 2 tablespoons of butter, that has been sliced or cut into several different pieces on top of the apples .

Pour the 3 Tbsp of cream over the top of the butter and apples, if you want to add a little extra cream I won't tell.

You will need to prepare the bottom crust to receive the top crust, to do that, get a little bowl of water and with a pastry  brush, lightly brush water around the rim of the bottom crust, (to be honest, I use my finger but that doesn't sound  good  to say, so you all use a pastry brush)

After you've done that quickly place the top crust over bottom crust and lightly press them together.

Run a butter knife around the rim of the pie plate to remove excess crust and then crimp the sides.

With a sharp knife, put three slits down the center of the crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 45 minutes or until the pie is done.

Oh, when you are making out the shopping list for this recipe don't forget to write down ice cream, vanilla ice cream to be exact.

And the picture of the shredded apples is not mine, I didn't take it but it is the way I do it, so I'm glad I found it.

Enjoy the fall ya' all!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Grandchildren, the Apple of Our Eyes

I've decided grandchildren are the best thing in the world to teach us about the grace of God.

Or maybe they are just what I needed to learn the grace of God.

Everyone tells you, "Oh you just can't know until you have one of your own."

Well.....they are right.

When I became a mother, I mean I became a mother.

I was all in, and I love my kids like a don't even know how to tell you.

I said, I never even knew what love was until I had them.

That all consuming, die in an instant without question for them kind of love.

Along with that love came a responsibility.

I can remember lying there in the hospital bed after Heidi was born and they placed her in my arms and I had two thoughts.

First, I thought, oh no she is a girl and that means she is going to have to do this one day.

I guess I thought that because the experience was still so fresh.

Next I looked down at her and thought, "I've got to be everything to her my mom was to me."
How was I gonna do that?

Then  in about two years Lucas came then two more and Jess came and then two more and Liv came and so we were off on the parenting journey.

Mark worked all the time and I was busy with the kids.

I felt like I had to tell them and teach them so much.

I loved being their momma.

Time went on and they grew up and then I looked back at pictures and it's like I never remembered them being so little.

I always thought they were older than they were.

I expected a lot.

Now here we are grandparents and I see how little Ezra is in a way I didn't see in my own children.

Every single thing he does is precious to Mark and I.

We sit and just watch what he does and then we smile at each other.

We imagine what he will say when he is with us, of course he can't talk but Mark has the cutest voice for him and says what he thinks Ezra would say if he could and I love that.

We love all of his attempts at everything and we don't care how feeble they are we clap and cheer and urge him on.

I think about the verse In Psalm 17:8 that says we're the apple of God's eye and that he guards us.
I also like Zechariah 2:8 where more of less God says, if anyone messes with you, they have messed with the apple of my eye.

Don't you just love that?

The Bible tells us more than once that God delights in us.

We don't use that word much, delight but it's a wonderful word.

It's a light, happy, exuberant word.

It's the perfect word to describe how we feel about our grandchildren.

We delight in them and they are the apple of our eye.

We love our children and we delight in them too but with the grandchildren the delight is so much clearer to us.

It's clearer because our job is different, it's clearer because we're wiser and we can slow down.

It's clearer because even though by this time in life, we may need bifocals ..we see more clearly than we ever have.

I know the Bible tells me that God is my Heavenly Father and I know that because he is, he sometimes has to discipline me.

I also know God has no grandchildren, he only has children yet I love that his love is big enough to love me with the fathering love that includes discipline and yet I'm the apple of his eye and he delights in me and has grace for me in a way that is like the love of a grandfather.

Grandparents are understanding, they are slow to anger, they are quick to give another chance, they have a connection with the child that a parent can't have.

The parent kind of love is needed, what would become of the child if they didn't have it?

But the grace, and understanding of the grandparent is needed just as much.

I'm so glad God is teaching me about himself, through Ezra.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised....after all, his book does  say, "A little child shall lead them."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pastor Appreciation Month, It's Not An Easy Job, Let Them Know You Care

October is Pastor Appreciation Month so if you have a pastor, be sure and let him know you appreciate him.

While you're at it let his whole family know what they mean to you.

No one knows how hard it is to pastor until you do it.

I remember when I used to think they worked only on Sunday.

They work more hours than you will ever know.

They have someone on their heart all the time.

They teach and train.

They  love, encourage and rebuke.

People will come to the church because they preach there, and people will leave the church because they preach there.

Sometimes they call and check on an absent member and the member is touched and feels cared about.

Sometimes they call and the member may feel like they are being hounded.

Sometimes he won't call for fear they will feel hounded and then they are mad and say no one cares.

He knows more about the congregation than he even knows what to do with.

He can never tell what he knows so he carries it with him.

He stands there and listens when one member is upset at another member.

He listens when someone has an idea that isn't biblical but sounds good and he has to try to lovingly steer them the right way.

He is supposed to have all of the answers to all of the questions.

Pastors get to be there for happy things, things like weddings, births and baptisms but the truth is more often than not they are called in for the hard times.

Deaths, marriage problems, parenting problems, financial issues, church disputes.

So it's easy for he and his family to get discouraged.

He and his family often feel alone, because afterall, no one wants to invite the preacher to their party.

Everyone's sorrow becomes his sorrow, their illness becomes his illness.

Being a pastor is a lot like being a basketball coach, when you come in everyone is for you, you are going to change things, you are going to turn things around, you can do no wrong.

Then the new wears off.

Often times the man who was thought to be so right, now seems so wrong.

Don't let that happen.

Do you even have any idea how many ministers leave the ministry each month?

It's estimated to be between 1500 and 1700 each month.

The pain is to great.

The tradition in the church, or the family in the church, or the we've always done it this way in the church, or the don't rock the boat in the church becomes to heavy.

Don't gossip about your minister.

Hold him up.

Pray for him, his job is hard and he is often in a very fragile place.

Pray for his wife.

People will praise her husband and they will criticize her husband and she has to act like a lady thought it all.

She listens to things others would never listen to and she holds her tongue because first and foremost she wants to honor God and protect his church.

So if it's so hard why does he stay?

Because for many, they can't quit.

It burns in their heart like a fire and even though they get discouraged and broken and want to quit, they can't.

They have to get up and tell the old, old story one more time.

So even if you are not that crazy about your minister, even if you think he steps on your toes, even if he can't remember the name of your daughter, have mercy on him.

Have grace for him.

He has a hard job.

Let him know you have his back and you appreciate all he does.

You know how as a parent if your child gives
you a compliment or lets you know something he appreciates about you you feel like you can go for months on that one kind thing they said?

Well it's the same with the pastor.

Help him keep going.

Let him know what you appreciate, get specific, tell him what you appreciate.

You  might just save a ministry.

Friday, September 30, 2016

What Do You Mean Remove Myself?

I'm having so much fun hearing from so many of you.

I love hearing what your favorite part of the book is.

Waitin on a Farmer and So You Want to Date A Farmer, seem to be ringing  a lot of bells.

But by far the most common thing people are saying to me is, "Remove Yourself From Yourself"

I love that because it's my favorite line too.

You have no idea how often I do that.

My life has became so much easier since I remove myself so often.

I don't mean I stick my head in the sand, or that I don't deal with things, I mean I have learned to be slower to act and to try to see things differently.

One way it's helped is..... I don't get as mad at Mark.

Now days I almost always, not always, but almost always,  stop and try to remove myself from myself, I pretend I'm not me... but that I'm watching what's going on as if I were someone else.... and you know what I've found out?

Mark isn't always wrong.

Sometimes when I remove myself I see a look in Mark's eye or an expression go across his face I would have been to worked up to see if I was my normal self.

I can hear things that aren't being said better when I act like I'm listening with someone else's ears.

I'm serious, this sounds crazy but it works.

I'm sure you have been around  when someone was having a disagreement, even if it's just your children.

Often you see truth on both sides because you are removed from it.

Because you aren't in the middle of it you can see what's real. You can hear the heart of the people.

It not only works in marriage but it works in almost everything.

One thing that comes to my mind and I've shared it before but I'll tell you again because to me it's big.

On my very first trip back to the doctor after we found out they thought I had cancer I was sitting in the room waiting for the doctor.

She came in and she got my charts up on the computer and she started going over everything with me.

She said she was going to go talk to the cancer doctor and she left the room.

I sat there.

I started to feel afraid.

I had really done pretty well up until then, but there I sat and I was scared.

I felt it come over me, it started out slow but soon it was almost to encompass me.

I started to cry.

Not an uncontrollable sob but whimpers, whimpers that were on the verge of growing but then I remembered.

The Lord reminded me to remove myself from myself, so I did.

I knew that was the only way I was going to be able to sit up and act like a grown mature Christian woman who has faith in God ought to act.

So in the quiet, cold white, little room I sat up and straightened my shoulders.

I blew my nose and wiped my eyes.

I told God he was going to have to come and deal with all of this because I wasn't going to be able to do it.

I told him I was going to go over there in sit in that other chair, and I told him he was going to need to come and be inside of me and listen to the doctor.

He was going to have to ask what needed asked and he was going to have to act right about it all because I was going to be busy having a melt down in the corner.

Well, you know that's all he needed to hear.

He was just waiting for me to ask.

The doctor came in and the Lords presence was sweet with me.

I was calm and I listened to what was said.

I can't explain to you what it does when you realize you cannot do it without God.

I can't be the wife or mother or daughter or friend or patient that I need to be, I'll mess it up every single time.

So...I've learned to move out and let him move in.

So when you find yourself wanting to scream or cry of just in general have a fit, remove yourself, from yourself.

Take all of your out of control emotions and have a seat in the corner while God get things to where you can handle them again.

He has a real gentle way of bringing you back to your senses, or should I say, he has a real gentle way of bringing you back to yourself.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No Matter What the Debate Sounded Like, All Is Not Lost

Sometimes when we read the Bible we feel distant from it.

It seems like it's for someone else, like it doesn't really apply to us personally.

Tonight I was reminded of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

You might not recognize  that reference, but you will when I tell you what it says,

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and heal their land."

We hear this verse all the time.

It's all over facebook.

It's the Word of God and it's truth.

The thing is though before this particular truth can be realized in the land it has to realized individually.

We will never be a land of humble people turning from the wickedness of our ways until we are individuals turning from our wicked ways.

We won't be a forgiven nation of God's people until we become forgiven individuals.

2 Chronicles is a pretty sounding verse.

It gives us comfort and hope.

It also is a reminder that we can never get to a we, without an I.

We can never become a better nation until we become better individuals.

We have to apply the Word of God to our own heart first.

Next time you read or hear 2 Chronicles 7:14, make it personal, because it is you know.

It's got your name and my name written all over it.

If Kelly, whom is called by my name will humble herself and pray and seek my face and turn from her wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive her sin and I will heal her.

So, the starting place is to make it personal, "If I who am called by His name will humble myself and pray and seek his face and turn from my wicked ways, then he will hear from heaven and forgive my sin and heal me."

All the I's  will becomes we's and the individuals become a land.

That's the way it always is with God's Word.

We've got to apply it to ourselves first.

So when you are tempted to get all torn up about the way things are, when you want to start complaining about the candidates and the condition of the country, just back up a minute.

Remember, we can't do a thing about this country, until we fix ourselves.

We've got to remember that it can't always be the other guy who needs the fixing and besides that, we're all somebody else's  other guy, and that makes the problem us.

Fixing ourselves will eventually fix the country but it starts with us, spills over onto our family, seeps out from under the door and into the community, then across the county lines into the state, overflows the state lines and gets all over the country.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

It can only begin with me, when  I realize it can only come from Him.

Don't let today be a day of complaining and feeling hopeless, let it be a day when you decide to listen to that verse and take it to heart and make it personal.

If we open our eyes we will also be surprised about just how many people around us are already doing that.

Ezekiel 22 tells about how in the Old Testament God was going to bring judgement and he said in verse 30, he looked for one good man, just one good man would be enough to stay his hand of judgement.

"I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I  would not have to destroy it, but I found no one."

While that is a terribly sad verse, we can give thanks we don't live in a time like that.

This land is full of good men and women who stand in the gap, who stay the hand of God's judgement.

Think of all the good people you know.

Think of all the people who love God and make a difference every single day.

Don't give into the sense of hopelessness.

We are a people of hope.

Be different today.

Stand in the gap.