Are you smarter than a two-year-old? I’m not.
Once again Eli performed at a higher level of faith than I’ve been able to exhibit in all my 56 years. Here’s how it happened.
Friday was date night for the kids and grandbaby fun time for me. Eli and I did some shopping where of course he selected a new truck for his special treat. I was unloading groceries and he was crawling around my feet imagining a super productive construction site with his dump truck and new cement truck. I must add its cool swiveling bucket on the back insured it as the favorite of the day.
He crossed his trucks between the kitchen tile and family room hardwood only to bump the floor strip; it moved. Oh, how exciting to a little boy who promptly lifted it from its supposedly glued position. I noticed and asked him not to play with it. He let it snap into place and continued on.
A few minutes later I was washing fruit and I heard, “Granpap fix it.” My ears perked up because I know something broke. I feared it was his new truck with the swiveling bucket.
He walked up to me with his fearless face and said, “Granpap fix it.”
His reply, “Granpap fix it.”
That’s it. That’s the lesson that overwhelmed me. That’s why I need to learn from a two-year-old. Only a child has that kind of faith.
If you don’t see it yet, let me share what I would’ve done. I often times follow my ancestor Eve. I’m told not to touch it. I touch it and I break it.
I’m terrified that I will be scolded and disciplined therefore I start coming up with excuses on why I touched the forbidden thing. I actually blame the thing. “It should’ve been glued better. I was only trying to fix it.”
Then I try to fix it myself which because I’m worthless with tools becomes a bigger disaster. So I hide. I put the splintered strip of wood back in place as best I can and I hide on the sofa in a fake sleep.
When Granpap comes home and forces me to wake, I recite my explanation and he doesn’t buy a word of it. So guilt and shame come in and I cry apologizes for being such a waste of a person. “I break everything. I always make it worse. I don’t deserve to live in the same house as you. I’ll pay for the supplies if you will fix it.”
Then I use every tool in my womanly arsenal to try to appease his perceived anger and make him happy so maybe he will like me again.
All my efforts are wasted. I’ll daily remind myself of my stupidity every time I step across that threshold. Guilt will consume my joy.
Oh little Eli, thank you for constantly displaying a childlike faith.
“Granpap fix it.”
Yes, Eli. Granpap did fix it. He didn’t scold you. He loved you before you did it. He loved you while you did it. He loved you after you did it. His love never changes.
“Granpap fix it.”
I hope I remember this the next time I blow it. The next time I sin. All He wants me to do is run to him with a fearless face and put my sin before Him and say, “Abba Daddy, fix it.”
“Abba Daddy, fix it.”
He will. He’s the only one who can. All the time He’s repairing the damage, He’s reminding me of His love. I can sit next to Him and watch how He restores the broken to a perfection I could never have imagined.
And now every time I walk that threshold, I’m reminded of His love for me, His beloved child.
“Abba Daddy fixed me.”
And if that weren’t enough, there’s always a special treat for faith, Granpap gave Eli a new kite, and they played together all evening.
I hope to never hide from another special treat. How about you? Learn something from a two-year-old?
I discovered a blog offering words to communicate to children. No doubt the list would challenge children, encourage them, and motivate them. I would not be surprised if any child who regularly heard such praise and motivation would not grow to be leaders among their peers as long as life’s hard blows didn’t outweigh the praises of their parents.
I marked the blog as a keeper but after a few reads, I was certain something major was missing. There was no mention of the creator, our need for a savior, or our eternal purpose. Yes, we can motivate children to conquer this world but in doing so, they lose everything in the next world.
So I decided to do some tweaking. The bold italics are mine. These I intend to teach Eli and Caleb.
1. I love you! But Jesus loves you more. There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that. I know this because God loves you through me. My love may fail, but His never will.
2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one! God made only one of you because He has a special purpose for your life. You were made in His image and because of that you are amazing and wonderful. Without God, you and I are worthless. But in Him we are amazing.
3. It’s all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do. Jesus cried too. God gave us His emotions so they are okay.
4. You’ve made a mistake. That was wrong. People make mistakes. I do. Is it something we can fix? What can we do? It’s all over. You can start fresh. I know you are sorry. I forgive you. It wasn’t a mistake, it was a sin. Everyone sins. A sin is when we don’t do what God wants us to do. We can ask God to forgive us and He will. What can you do to make sure you don’t do that sin again? God will help you if you ask Him.
5. You did the right thing. That was scary or hard. Even though it wasn’t easy you did it. I am proud of you; you should be too. God gives us strength to do the right thing. When we are scared or facing hard choices, God helps us. We should trust God to help and then thank Him for His strength. This gives God glory.
6. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I made a mistake. I sinned against God and against you. I asked God to forgive me, now I’m asking you to forgive me.
7. You can change your mind. It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change. Always ask God what He wants you to do. When you know it is God’s will, then stay firm no matter how hard it gets. God will bless you for keeping your word.
8. What a great idea! You were really thinking! How did you come up with that? Tell me more. Your mind is clever. Did you pray about that? Isn’t God good for giving you such a great idea. What’s even better is now He will give you everything you need to make that idea work. Let’s praise God.
9. That was kind. You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person. That must make you feel good inside. Thank you! When you do kind, helpful and thoughtful things for others, you are acting like Jesus. Jesus delights when you do His works. When others ask you why you did that say, “That’s Jesus coming out of me”
10. I have a surprise for you. It’s not your birthday. It’s for no reason at all. Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise. I love to surprise you with presents just like Jesus surprises me with blessings.
11. I can wait. We have time. You don’t have to hurry this time. I’m sorry I often rush you to keep my busy schedule. Today, let’s do things slow and enjoy our time together. God says if we wait on Him we can make us soar like the eagles.
12. What would you like to do? It’s your turn to pick. You have great ideas. It’s important to follow your special interests. God’s word says He will give us the desires of our hearts. Let’s ask God for a special thing to do today.
13. Tell me about it. I’d like to hear more. And then what happened? I’ll listen. Can you imagine that the powerful God of the universe bends His ear close to hear us. He’s enjoying this story as much as I am. Keep talking.
14. I’m right here. I won’t leave without saying good-bye. I am watching you. I am listening to you. Jesus will never leave you. He will always protect you. He will always listen to you. And because you are little, He uses me to let you know He is close. I’m happy to know that we can trust Jesus to watch over us.
15. Please and thank you. These are important words. If I forget to use them, will you remind me? I want to treat you with respect because you are made in God’s image like me. I will use words that build you up and encourage you to be all that you were created to be. When I fail, please tell me.
16. I missed you. I think about you when we are not together! I missed you so much but I knew God was with you. Sometimes I can’t be with you but Jesus never leaves you.
17. Just try. A little bit. One taste, one step. You might like it. Let’s see. I’ll help you if you need it. I think you can do it. With God all things are possible. Let’s pray and ask Him to help you.
18. I’ll help you. I heard you call me, here I am. How can I help you? If we both work together, we can get this done. I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked. Just like you asked for my help and I am happy to help you, God loves to help us when we pray. Let’s pray that He helps us do this together.
“And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more…” 1 Philippians 1:9
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else…” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Now, there’s a huge challenge in God’s word. It’s not an option. We are commanded to grow in our love for others.
Love should never be put on a diet. It has to expand.
We expand in our knowledge of God as we read his word. We expand in our faith as we walk through the trials of this life. But how do we expand our love?
To grow in love, we must add more people into our lives. Every time we open our heart to someone new, we open a new path of expansion. We gain a few heart pounds.
Because God is such a compassionate God, his training regime is so much fun. He feeds and expands our hearts with grandbabies.
Those precious little babies enter a family and turn everything upside down. Just when we think you can’t love any deeper; here comes a newborn.
Our hearts threaten to explode from our chest when we hold that bundle in our arms. I imagine its something like an elephant squeezing into a peanut shell. Or more appropriately, its like the Almighty Creator God squished into a newborn’s body lying in a manger.
The blessings of grandbabies: We don’t care that they can’t love us back. We know they will someday. We don’t care that they are so much work because we know someday they will work along side us. We’re counting on future rewards and it works for us.
When we put a stopper on our heart, we fail miserably. When we see the hurting empty lives all around us, we have to say, “If God can grow my heart to love this baby, He will grow my heart to love my neighbor, my boss, my classmate, the homeless family, the abused child, the orphan or the widow.
Now here’s the best part. If God blesses me with such amazing joy and maturity because I willingly love this baby, how much more would He bless me if I chose to love those who may never return my love.
I must choose to love because whether it’s family or strangers, we are never promised a future return.
I welcome Caleb Drew Jones to my heart. My heart expanded a whopping 8 pounds on April 3. It will continue to grow as he does. I’ve already received the first smile and my eyes leaked from the overflow of joy. I’m anxious to hear the first giggle, to have him grasp my finger, and ultimately squeeze my neck.
But I think the greatest blessing is the lesson Caleb’s already taught me. Go out and find others to love because God is faithful to his promises. As I open my heart, He fills it with more of Himself and that expansion can then love others.
I wrote the following blog last week. Since that time, Mike’s beloved Grandma Po stepped into glory. Some of the last words anyone heard her speak were, “I want to go home. Take me Jesus.” I am grateful to be a member of her family.
I read this week where a famous actor was asked to describe how he felt as he reached the 80 year milestone. He was terrified of dying. He envied anyone who had hope in an afterlife. My heart aches for those who live their lives empty chasing after the things of this world. They exist void of the blessings of God and family.
Grandma Po lived a simple life compared to most. For nearly a century she never wandered far from her birthplace nor the birthplace of her children, grandchildren, and great and great great-grandchildren . How could anything entice her away from those she loved most?
She was quiet, sweet-spoken, prim and proper. She logged thousands of hours as a hospital volunteer and as many miles running in marathons when most her age watched on the sidelines. But the highlight of her accomplishments could be measured every Sunday evening when her children gathered together in her living room to share stories of the past week and of the good ole days.
That’s how I want to remember Po. Rocking in her favorite chair, arms crossed, smiling broadly as her beloved Eugene, Jeanine, and Karen came home each week and for a few hours were once again her children. She wanted nothing more of this world but to be their mother.
I can so relate. I dream of being somebody, of doing something to make a difference in this world, and making my family proud of me. Yet those are just dreams that pass away the second I see my kids and my grandson. Nothing on this earth would fulfill me more than to have a Gramma house where weekly my family would come together and allow me to once again be their mother hen.
It’s the simple things of life that matter most. Thanks Po! Your legacy will never be forgotten. Someday we’ll join together for a reunion that will never end. Until then, I love you.
I am grateful for all the failed thanksgiving turkeys in my history. To each of those disgusting, over-cooked, dry birds, I say thanks. Your waste was to my gain. I sought hard for the perfect recipe and finally succeeded.
Anyone out there want to impress your family and friends? This recipe may help.
Brine your bird 4-6 hours (as long as it’s not already basted or kosher)
One-cup salt per gallon of water as needed to immerse the bird. I use a garbage bag with bird and salt water sealed tightly inside then submerged in a cooler with ice water. The brining salt seals in the juices so you are guaranteed no more dry birds.
At least 8 hours before baking, place the brined and rinsed bird on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate. Yes, that’s uncovered, butt-naked. This will insure an evenly browned coat.
Ready to roast in 400-degree oven on V-shaped rack. Brush butter over skin of turkey. No need of basting while baking.
Here’s the key, roast breast-side down for 1st 45 minutes.
Remove roasting pan, close door to maintain temperature, and carefully flip the bird. Continue roasting breast side up until thickest part of breast registers 165-degrees. I recommend a remote control thermometer so you can relax and enjoy your family while the bird bakes.
Final step and super important….let turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving.
I know it takes 2 days and some preplanning but the way I see it, for the family, it’s worth it.
My family asks for a turkey dinner once a year but they beg for my sausage apple stuffing as often as I will make it. Since Thanksgiving is a time to share, here’s the recipe.
Saute over medium heat: 2 TBS of butter, 2 yellow onions diced, and 3 garlic cloves minced. (I normally go more on the garlic!) Salt and pepper. When onions are soft, add ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 Golden Delicious apples peeled and cut into small cubes, and ¼ cup dry white wine. Cook until wine has reduced, about 10 minutes. Transfer this mixture to large bowl.
In same pan, brown one-pound pork sausage. Add sausage to apple mixture. Add two boxes of turkey stuffing mix with the seasoning spices. I also cut 5-6 slices of fresh bread into cubes and add to the mixture. Not sure why, but my momma always did, so I do it too.
As I mix this all together, I add chicken broth, about 4-5 cups. You want it moist but not soggy.
Transfer to pretty rectangular baking dish. Brush butter across the top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in 350-degree oven.
Sadly, being vegetarian, I can’t indulge in either of these. But I am blessed with all the ‘yums’ I hear around the table.
If you ask, I’ll share their favorite dessert recipe, Pumpkin Bars with cream cheese icing.
Until next week, have a blessed Thanksgiving. Enjoy your loved ones!
Anyone want to share a thanksgiving tradition we can begin this year with Eli?