Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Spiritual?

Spiritual is a feel-good word now. People aren't religious; they're spiritual. They have a "guiding light inside them," "a spark of divinity." They "commune with nature." All lovely words that are intended to offend no one and change no lives. They are descriptions of things designed solely to make you feel good. But feelings are not the issue. (Have I mentioned that before?)

Spiritual is being like Christ. Spiritual is obeying the Bible. (1 Corinthians 14:37) Our Pastor says it over and over "Spiritual isn't spooky; it's scriptural." 

Spiritual isn't chanting, or humming, or yoga. Spiritual isn't being a lofty other-worldly individual. Spiritual is obedience and obedience is work.

Spiritual is submitting to your husband. (Ephesians 5:22)
Spiritual is training your children. (Proverbs 29:15)
Spiritual is studying your Bible. (1 Timothy 4:15-16, 2 Timothy 2:15)
Spiritual is praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Spiritual is guiding your home. (Proverbs 31:27)
Spiritual is caring for the needs of others. (Proverbs 31:20)
Spiritual is going to church. (Hebrews 10:25)
Spiritual is being gracious. (Proverbs 11:16)

None of these descriptions are designed to make me feel good. And that's good. My feelings are not the issue. Reading my Bible does not make me feel good. It's usually pointing out my sin, showing where I need to change. Praying does not make me feel good. I struggle to stay focused. Training my children does not make me feel good. It's a lot of work and can be offensive to others. Submitting to my husband doesn't make me feel good. I would really rather have my own way. Caring for the needs of my family and others doesn't make me feel good. Can't I just do my own thing sometimes?

Those things may not make me feel good but all of those things are Scriptural. Obedience is the issue, not feelings. 

Are we more interested in impressing others with our "spirituality" or pleasing God with our lives? That will determine how we define "spiritual."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Today Matters

The cost of godliness is daily obedience. Francie Taylor

It's easy to think that today doesn't really matter. I can start setting goals next week. Or in January. I can start training my children tomorrow or when they turn five. 

Instead a little work today plus a little work tomorrow and the next day will equal progress in one month, one year, five years. 

The daily training of my children is hopefully producing hearts that are bent toward God. (In work with other people, I can only do my part. I am called to obey. I am responsible before God for my actions, not theirs.)

The daily housework is producing a legacy of home. The daily decisions- the daily work- make up the memories that our children will carry with them when they leave our home. 

Every day of practicing piano is building up to a skill level that I'm not at yet. I will never get better if I wait for a long time to practice or just think about practicing. Twenty minutes here and there adds up. 

A legacy of serving God is built upon obeying today. This is the one that really matters. Am I obeying today? Am I doing my duty today? Am I loving today? 

Today counts. Today matters. 

What are you doing today? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

1. The End of Mommy-Guilt. Let's talk about balance, shall we?

2. And we value our men...Just for my father-in-law who, after Monday's post, asked when there would be a post about men.

3. Because we do have a choice.

But most of all....I did the best thing this week. Well, last week actually. 

Are you ready? 

I deleted my Facebook app off my iPad. 

Now I still have Facebook but I only check it on my computer. At naptime and right after the boys are in bed.  
This move has several good points. 
-I'm not tempted to scroll through facebook every time I walk through the kitchen. 
-I'm more invested in what's going on in our home. 
-And...I feel like I'm more creative. I'm finding time to do other things...

Like this! 

He has a long way to go. I've only worked on it for two days and it's oil paint so I have to let it dry before I mess with it more. But I'm super excited about him! 

Happy Weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Not Supposed to Be Easy

Expectations are killers. I can have expectations for how my day is supposed to go, how everyone else is supposed to act, and how I am supposed to feel and those expectations mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. If I can't even control how I feel about things how on earth do I expect to control how someone else acts? And you know what's worse? When things don't go the way I expect it affects how I feel and often how I act.

Here's a big expectation for me. It's supposed to be easy. If I were good at what I do- if I were a good Christian- then being a wife and mom, being a Christian would be easy. I wouldn't struggle with being content. I wouldn't struggle with finding my joy in Jesus instead of my circumstances. I wouldn't struggle with selfishness.

But you won't find that expectation in the Bible. It's not supposed to be easy. The Bible speaks of taking up our cross, dying to self, mortifying the deeds of the flesh, persevering in adversity. It never mentions only doing things that feel good or that you enjoy.

You're not necessarily doing anything wrong if it's not easy. (Now the path of a sinner is hard. See Proverbs 22:5. But I'm not talking about adding hardship to life through sin. I'm talking about life- the day in and out of God's will.) This realization is reassuring beyond measure to me.

I always assumed that if it was hard or I struggled then I was doing something wrong. Or there was something wrong with me. That's a bad expectation for me because I find that doing this work God has placed before me isn't easy. It's not easy to be a wife as the Bible defines a wife. It's not easy to be a mom that loves, teaches, and trains those babies. It's not easy to strive to be a lady that's outlined in the Bible.

We even see this in "secular" life. The activities that bring results aren't easy. No one expects them to be easy.  Working out isn't supposed to be easy. Ever tried Insanity? Definitely not easy. Why do people do it if it's so hard? Because it brings results. Sitting on the couch is easy but it doesn't bring results or change.

Practicing piano isn't easy. Some days it drives me crazy!! But I keep at it because practice brings results. Listening to music or only playing what I'm good at would be easy. But I wouldn't get better.

Life's like that too. Mothering, marriage, jobs, relationships aren't necessarily supposed to be easy.

Some days it's hard.

Some days I have to make myself do the things I don't want to.(And fake a smile while I'm at it.)

So many days I think "Wow, this is not easy." And then I remind myself it's not supposed to be and it takes so much pressure off myself. It can be hard. That's ok. God knows that I appreciate being a mother and a wife and anything else even while I acknowledge that it can be hard. It doesn't mean I'm not trying to be godly or thankful or loving.

But God is using those hard days to make me better. He's using those days to bring results in my life- to make me more like Jesus.

The goal is for me to look like Jesus (Philippians 1:21). Not for life to be easy. I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His masterpiece. He is building, sculpting, honing me into something useful, productive, beautiful.  Sculptors and carpenters and builders use tools like sandpaper, chisels, hammers, and kilns.

Sandpaper doesn't feel good. A hammer and chisel can't feel good either. But it gets rid of all the material- the elements- that don't look like the goal. God has an image to guide Him and He is making me into something useful and beautiful and helpful.

Sometimes life's sandpaper. Sometimes it's a hammer and chisel. Sometimes life's just hard.

Don't stop because it's hard. Know your Bible principles and follow them regardless of how you feel. Feelings aren't supposed to be the leaders because feelings make really bad leaders. Relieve yourself of your expectations and remind yourself that it's ok if it's hard.

It's supposed to be hard.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How Being a Mom Is Like Being a Celebrity

Lately I've realized I'm as close to being a celebrity as I'll ever be and all from being a mom. I think I'll enjoy my little piece of the spotlight while it's here. 

How exactly is being a mom like being a celebrity? 

1. I have adoring fans.  I cannot imagine that anyone is more excited to see a celebrity than my children are to see me. Especially after I've been in the bathroom- ALONE- for five minutes. 

2. I receive focused public attention. People stop me in public all the time to comment on how adorable my kids are. Granted, they aren't saying anything about me but since people never stopped me in public before at all...I'll take it. 

photo courtesy of stuart miles/

3. I spend money. We all know celebrities spend more money than I'll ever have on clothes, tans,  and personal trainers. I spend my money on bananas, mushrooms, and new g-tubes. 

4. I get imitated. People dress like their favorite actress, do their hair like them, and buy that same brand of nail polish. (Not gonna make you famous, honey!) My children mimic everything I do! Nothing like realizing you should stop doing something once you see your three-year-old do it. 

5. There's that paparazzi problem.  Maybe that unflattering picture isn't splashed across a magazine cover at the grocery store checkout but it is posted on Facebook because, after all, "the baby looks adorable!" And then, they tag it. 

6. Talents are sometimes greatly exaggerated. My kids think it's the bomb when I sing with Pandora and hit some high notes. My husband...not so much.  

7. People are always tugging at my clothes! Thankfully, it's not creepy like it would be if it were strangers. I've never had to call the police or my bodyguard about it. 

I've never had any desire to be famous but if it starts to sound appealing I'll just remind myself that I'm famous enough. 

Have you ever noticed that motherhood resembles fame? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

What Changes a Life?

As I noted earlier Missions Conference is over for this year. One of my favorite things about Missions Conference is meeting our missionary families. We talk about deputation and life on the field. I play games with their kids in the nursery. We chat about life while we visit the bus route. And you know what I've noticed? They are *just* normal people. 

I don't say that to diminish what they do. It's amazing that they are willing to serve God and follow Him around the world. They leave family and culture and comfort to go somewhere else to tell others about Jesus. They are Christian "celebrities" and they should be. I want our children to know and love our missionaries. 

photo courtesy of domdeen/

But they aren't spiritual superheros. They are people. People with problems. People with difficulties. People who are growing in their faith.  It's easy to look at Bible characters, preachers, missionaries, etc, as somehow being larger-than-life or other-worldly. But they are people. And people are people wherever you go. 

I always had the idea that if you surrendered to be a missionary you automatically became a spiritual giant. You had faith that moved mountains, never struggled with doubts and fears, and had memorized the Bible front to back (maybe the index too!). It never bothered you to serve your family quietly without notice, respond graciously to hateful people, or travel far from family. But our missionaries are very open with their humanness. They don't pretend sainthood but they are dedicated to giving their lives to Christ. 

Jesus expects the same from us even if we live in America. (Maybe more with all our privileges?) We shouldn't hold other people to a higher standard than we do ourselves, even if they are in "full-time service." (I think all Christians are in full-time service but that's another post.)  So how can we be growing Christians even if we aren't missionaries to a foreign field? Do we wait until God calls us to suddenly realize that people are watching us and we need to show them Christ? No. We have a mission field wherever we are. 

Just a few thoughts: 
- Grow where you are. Maybe you would like to be years more mature spiritually or know more of your Bible. But you don't. Don't give up; start where you are. Learn a little today and a little tomorrow. It will add up. 

Don't wait for some event or happening before you decide to serve. Don't wait until you are done with school or until you move. Don't wait until you get married or have kids. Don't wait until you get a position at church or a new job. Grow now. 

-Serve where you are. Do what you can. Do what's needed. Don't do what's not needed. I almost think that one is more crucial. We are so easily offended if our service isn't wanted or our idea isn't used. Be willing to "not do" whatever it is if that's most helpful to the cause of Christ. 

We can't decide that reading the Bible, soul-winning, or discipling are only tasks for the preacher or the missionary. God wants to use us to reach the world. Kentucky is my part of the world. 

-Love where you are. Why would you love the people of the mission field if you won't love the people in your town? If you won't love the people in your house? 

-Surrender your all to God where you are. God wants all of you. He wants all of you whether you are a missionary, a doctor, a mom, a writer, a technician. It doesn't matter what He has given you to do, He wants you. 

It's not the call to the mission field that changes a life. It's deciding to give God every day. Today when you get up, give it to Him in His service. Do the same tomorrow. And the same the next day. That's the only way you could serve God as a missionary. That's the only way you can serve God where you are. God doesn't ask for less because you aren't a missionary to a foreign field. He doesn't care about your location; He cares about your heart. 

He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else.  Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missions Conference

Missions Conference is over for the year. Is it bad to say that I'm already looking forward to next year? 

Our Pastor (right) and Dr. Ashcraft- he's our main conference speaker every year. 

Mrs. Ashcraft got to come this year. She has bad health and doesn't usually travel with him.  She's a sweet lady and a very talented musician. 

My amazing husband recording the Saturday morning session. 

Now those are two cute kids! Kevin looks mischievous. 


My Micah boy :) 

Talking to one of the sweet missionary wives. 

Baby Kevin. He always points to greet people. It's adorable, don't you think? 

We had amazing sermons, lots of food and late nights, and just that quick, it's over till next year. It's always wonderful to meet our missionary families and hear about the work they are doing. 

You can hear the sermons here. And you should hear them; they are very good. 

And you can see the rest of the pictures here

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nurturing Our Marriage

"Love like there's no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again." Max Lucado
Last spring our Pastor talked about wartime marriages in marriage class. They knew the value of time. They also knew there was a good chance they didn't have much of it. 

In America, we tend to take time for granted. People can live long, healthy lives. People usually do live long, healthy lives. But we aren't guaranteed those long, healthy lives. The Bible says life is short, like a vapor. (James 4:14)

I want to nurture my marriage every single day. I don't want to assume that I can do it tomorrow because we might not have tomorrow. Now honestly, I can't focus on this thought to any extreme because then I get sad and fearful about tomorrow instead of motivated to make the most of today.  But the concept must be there.  We are not promised fifty years together. Or even seven. We have today. 

So what can I do to nurture my marriage today? What can I do to love my husband? 

1. Smile at him. When he wakes up. When he comes home. When I talk on the phone (seriously, it makes a difference in your voice!). When we're mobilizing the troops for battle (i.e. corralling the children). When I'm tired. When he's discouraged. 

2. Touch him! Pat his arm. Rub his shoulder. Kiss him. Give him a hug. 

3. Listen to him. My husband has lots of stories. Stories about work mostly. And those are stories about his life. I want to hear him. I want him to know he's important to me. 

4. Laugh with him. We are constantly doing ridiculous things and cracking each other up. We'll probably embarrass our kids when they are older. 

5. Care for him. For me, this means clean clothes. Dinner when he comes home (at least the promise of dinner cooking!). A reasonably clean, if somewhat messy, house. 

6. Moderate our home. What does this mean? I was sick last week and I observed something. My husband needs me as a buffer. He needs my creativity for spending time with our kids. He needs my energy for being excited about our life. 

7. Be happy. My husband desires my happiness.  I cannot depend on him to make him happy but I can give him the gift of my joy. 

8. Make him the focus. When it comes to our marriage I can focus on him or I can focus on me. I want to make him the focus and die to self. 

And then I want to do these things day after day after day. 

Because one of those days will be the last one. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Favorites

1. Stacy Makes Cents chats about why they chose to homeschool. And they are such great reasons!

2. The Better Mom talks about sibling rivalry but I think the concepts also apply to general misbehavior. 

3.  The Matt Walsh Blog contemplates the work of a stay-at-home mom. (Warning: there is a cuss word in the first paragraph.)
Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.
If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.
4. Missions Conference starts tonight! And here's the intro video

5. I "made" some new school materials for our preschool. 

We're going to start working on the days of the week. I'm not sure how much of this Micah has already grasped. He seems to be fairly up on what we are supposed to be doing each day. 

He knows his letters and now he knows these numbers. (He told them to Justin at dinner.) He's a sharp little fellow; he probably knows all of them already. 

6. There is no pinterest-worthy craft or materials idea happening here. I have grand ideas in my head but they involve time and materials that I don't always have on hand. It's better to do it  (and in decent fashion, I must say) than to never do it because I have waiting for a perfected idea. 

7. Bed Art! It's the little things. Justin has mentioned how nice it looks both days that I've done this so I'll continue. 

I just folded Micah's blankets and propped up his stuffed animals and positioned them on his bed. Justin said it looked like a fancy hotel. 

8. I've wanted to work on setting weekly goals for some time now and I found a great method that I want to try. Do. Read. Learn. Be. I think I'll try setting them sometime on Sunday for upcoming week. 

9. This week I read Son of Hamas. This is an unfathomable world to me: I cannot imagine growing up as he did. It's an excellent read and an understandable (especially to someone unversed in Middle Eastern politics and culture) explanation of events in the Middle East. 

10. And we'll end with a Chinese Proverb: "Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still." 

Happy Weekend! We'll be busy enjoying Missions Conference. As always, you can watch online

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If You Don't Plant Anything

If you don't plant anything, God won't give the increase.   
If you don't witness, you won't win souls. 
If you don't train your children, they won't grow in godliness. 
If you don't nurture your marriage, it won't please God. 
If you don't plant bean seeds, you won't grow beans. 
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
My earthly abilities are so small. There are so many thing I can't do. I can't make my children grow up to serve Jesus. I can't force my husband to make right decisions every day. I can't be the type of woman that God outlines in the Scriptures.  Those are things that only God can do.

photo courtesy of

But even with that, I have to do my part. God has given me a task to do in each of those endeavors. When you plant a flower seed, you can't make it grow. But God won't grow it if you leave the seeds laying on your kitchen counter. Only God can cause that seed to grow but I must go plant it.  

I can teach my children the Bible- line upon line, precept upon precept. I can teach them to shape their behavior according to Bible principles. 

I can pray for my husband. I can use my influence to help him choose right. 

I can yield myself to the Spirit's control. I can guard my heart and what I put into it. I can feed myself the Bible and allow God to grow me.  

Most people fall to an extreme in this like with everything. (Isn't balance really an elusive goal?)  We either believe we can do it all by ourselves if we just work hard enough or we think that God will do it all and we can just sit on the couch. God does the work but He uses people to do it. 

He outlined in the Bible the path to fulfilling the Great Commission. We are to go. We are to win. We are to baptize. We are to teach. But really, can we win? Only God can convict of sin. Can we baptize? Only God can place a desire to obey in a person's heart. Can we teach? Oh, we can say words but only God can shape a heart with those words. 

And yet, we must go. We must open our mouths and tell someone that Jesus died to save them or they will never hear.  We must explain the importance of baptism or they will never obey. We must use our hands, our feet, our mouths, our love or God's work won't be done.

I must have Jesus. On my own, I am not anything. But God can take my work and do something extraordinary when I give myself to Him. Not just give my work, but give myself. He wants me. He wants you. 

The last part of those verses says that "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor."  I'm not going to be rewarded for the results. I can't "make" results; that's God's job. I'm going to be rewarded for my work. Did I obey? Did I do my part that God gave me? 

It's a miracle really. A miracle that God can take common ordinary things like dirt and water and make something grow- beautiful flowers, nutritious food.  And it's a miracle that God can take common actions- going, talking, teaching- and use them to win hearts for His kingdom. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Everybody Gives Up Something

My husband works hard at his job. He works hard at church. And you know what he does with his free time? He spends it with his wife and children. 

Micah's metabolic doctor works long, stressful hours at his job. I know. He's called us when he was on vacation to check on Micah when he was sick. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. Everybody. And I'm getting a little tired of this "poor mom" mentality that permeates our society. I find myself guilty of it too. All the moaning, "oh, I can't. I have to stay home with the kids. Spend that money on the kids. Sacrifice my dreams for the kids." So what's a person to do? Go to the Bible, of course. 
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Philippians 4:11-12
I've always looked at these verses in the light of material possessions or money. But what if I look at them as speaking to my actual state in life. That's what it says after all. It doesn't say "for I have learned, with however much money I have, therewith to be content."
State: Condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time. These circumstances may be internal, constitutional or peculiar to the being, or they may have relation to other beings. (Websters 1828 Dictionary) 
So our state is our circumstances, internal or external. This is marital status, physical location, education, burdens, opportunities, stresses, height, employment, etc.  Every state has its positives and negatives but our response is supposed to be contentment. 

First a few notes about contentment. 
-Content- "Literally, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose." (Webster's 1828)
A. Contentment is learned. (See above verses.) It goes against the natural man to be content. We are not born this way. 
B. Contentment brings good to our lives. 1 Timothy 6:6 states: "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 
C. Contentment alone is not enough. We could be very content to be living in our sin. That's why we need godliness as well. 
D. Contentment is based on very little. 1 Timothy 6:8 says, "And having food and raiment let us therewith be content."  Food and clothes. That's all. 

Maybe we have to be hungry in some areas to appreciate fullness later. Hungry for friendship, hungry for quiet, hungry for God, hungry for growth. 

Maybe we have to be content with fullness. Maybe we are abounding with money, opportunities, free time. But Paul said he had to learn to be content even in fullness. Fullness does not equal contentment. 

Being a mom means I have said "no" to many things: alone time, uninterrupted sleep, freedom of schedule. Motherhood means I skip activities and opportunities for naptime and putting babies in bed, for runny noses and fevers. I may lay aside abilities and skills for a season to train and teach these little ones.

Motherhood also means I am full of other things: laundry and dishes, dirty diapers and discipline. I am abounding in hugs and little boys smiles, Dr. Suess and playing with fall leaves. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. Every "yes" means many "no's." We are limited beings. We are limited by time, ability, health. Even if we feel we have not chosen our yes's and no's, God has. We aren't here to chase our dreams; we are here to fulfill God's purposes. 

Everybody gives up something to do what they do. It's not just moms that lay aside themselves. And let's please remember that the next time we want to complain about our difficulties. Many would love to be in our shoes in exchange for small arms hugging their necks at bedtime. Let's not have a "poor mom" mentality like we are slaves to the universe and nobody has it as tough as we do. I know people who work almost around the clock working a job and going to school. People who are spending their time caring for elderly parents. Friends who work on the mission field far from family and friends with few physical comforts. 

Do you find yourself lacking contentment? Are you holding onto your dreams or desires instead of surrendering to what God has for you? Are you choosing the eternal or the temporal? A lack of contentment will steal your joy. It will rob you of the blessings of this season of life. And when you get what you want- you will be no happier. 

This season of mothering will pass. Some of the "no's" will go away but so will many rich blessings. Let's please not pity ourselves for the many blessings that God has bestowed on us. Instead let's practice contentment in whatever state- fullness, abasement, or neediness- we find ourselves. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Favorites

“…When women – sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones say ‘Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality,’ it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.
But this is what we so easily forget. … We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry. 
Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven’t an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.
The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one’s life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed – not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God.
A mother’s part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.” -- Elisabeth Eliot (emphasis mine)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Executive Chef

Justin and I have been watching "Chef Wanted." Restaurants in need of an executive chef are provided with four options by Anne Burrell. They complete a series of challenges and after each challenge one person is fired, I mean, "their job interview is over." It's quite entertaining to watch the chefs decide how to best complete the challenges and showcase their best work. 

I am the executive chef in our home. Doesn't that sound fancy? But I prepare the menus, shop for the food, manage the budget, train the sous chefs (if they are big enough), and prepare the food. 

Of course I clean up too and I don't think they normally do that but I have to be more diverse. 

It's challenging to take a look at my work from a different angle. Feeding my family is just as important to me as feeding a restaurant full of strangers is to an executive chef.  More so actually, I'm sure, as I love these people who fill my home. 

It is truly a labor of love. Cooking takes a lot of work.  Three times a day, every single day. (There are multiple times that I have wondered why I can't give everyone a banana and send them to bed.)

But my children will have memories of our fellowship around the table, enjoying the food. Memories of learning to cook, sharing time in the kitchen. 

We have to eat to survive, but I desire to make our times gathered around the table memorable moments. That is my goal as a homemaker: to give our life here spirit and love. 

She is like the merchants' ship; she bringeth her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14