Pride and Breakfast

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I sat on the side of my bed seriously contemplating whether I should crawl back under the covers. Then, I remembered –

Oooh, my favorite coffee creamer is waiting for me!

You see, I went to the grocery store last week and my favorite flavor was no where to be found.  With great disappointment, I grabbed a caramel coffee creamer, finished my shopping and went home.

It wasn’t until I was putting away the groceries at home that I discovered my egregious mistake. Instead of caramel, I had picked up Maple.

Maple! In my coffee?!? Ugh! That sounded almost as bad as Pumpkin Spice!

But today, sitting in my fridge was a glorious 32 oz. bottle of Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer. What a wonderful incentive to get out of bed! (I know. My life is sad. 😉 )

Oh, but the good vibrations didn’t stop there. The joy of drinking a warm cup of peppermint mocha flavored coffee after a week of suffering through the second worst coffee creamer in existence inspired me.

I’m going to cook breakfast!

Nope. I didn’t stop to enjoy a full cup of my delicious coffee. I didn’t wait for the morning brain fog to lift. I set out to cook a breakfast casserole. “This’ll be a cinch!” I thought. I’d made it tons of times before (using parts of the Fully Loaded Cheesy Breakfast Casserole recipe over at “The Slow Roasted Italian” and parts of the Baked Western Omelet recipe over at “The Seasoned Mom”) and it’s basically fool-proof.

… … …

… … Hang on…

… … … Give me just a minute…

I’m trying to stop laughing so I can finish this post!

Fool-proof! Hahahahahahaha…

Okay. I’m good now.

While gathering the ingredients for my breakfast casserole, I began to think of my victories in the kitchen this past week.

First, there was my cooking flexibility I discovered while making Sweet Corn Pie.

Then, there was the moment my husband declared that I could possibly have outdone him in the kitchen with my Chicken and Dirty Rice. (I’ll have to share that story with you on another occasion.)

And lastly, there was my brilliant idea to use hamburger buns for garlic toast to accompany our spaghetti one evening and then to use the leftover hamburger buns/garlic toast as buns for our sloppy joes the next evening.  After which, I proudly proclaimed myself “Queen of the Kitchen”.

Then from the deepest depths of my soul (or maybe the bottom of my coffee cup – I’m not really sure) came an idea born of my ever-growing pride.

I think I’ll try something new.

I decided to use crescent rolls as a crust. I had seen a recipe somewhere but didn’t want to spend the time searching for it. Phhhht. I don’t need a recipe!

Apparently, I did.

Maybe it was the brain fog. Maybe it was not enough coffee. Maybe it was karma biting me in the crescent rolls but my breakfast did not turn out anything like I had hoped.

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

After 30 minutes of the required baking time, I opened the oven to find that the crust was on the verge of burning but the casserole was not completely cooked. And there were these scary looking pustules growing on the top that reminded me of those horrible videos all over the web of –

Wait. This is a food post. You don’t want that image in your head. It’s bad enough that I had it in my head!

Anyway, I had to cook the casserole about 15 minutes longer and by the time I took it out of the oven, well, let’s just say the crust was mighty, mighty dark and mighty, mighty crispy.

Yeah. I was bummed. Almost as bad as when I discovered my coffee creamer mistake!

Pride and Breakfast - Confidence in the kitchen is great but over-confidence? Well... I've learned that Pride does not belong in any recipe! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Perhaps, if I hadn’t been wearing that prideful “Queen of the Kitchen” crown…

Perhaps, if I had taken the time to look up an appropriate recipe…

Perhaps, if I had remembered I’m still a novice in this whole culinary world, the casserole would have turned out a little better.

Perhaps.

But that’s pride for ya. It puffs you up then leaves you hanging in the middle of a dart board while daring someone to hit the bullseye!

Well, the casserole wasn’t too horrible. In fact, after a few bites, my husband said, “You know, I like it crispy like this.”

I smiled sheepishly…

… then slowly straitened my crown! 😉

**Full disclosure. I finally realized that my husband had no idea there was actually a crust on the casserole. He thought I had overcooked it and was trying to make me feel better about my mistake! Nice move, hubby of mine. Nice move. **

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Be Brave!

Be Brave! - Are you tired of fighting battles that leave you crushed and defeated? There's good news for you today. You don't have to fight! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

The battle is always waging.

You may not be in the throes of the fight today. But there is always a battle to fight.

Your friend may be fighting cancer. Your neighbor may be struggling to keep her marriage together. Your loved one may be battling addiction. You may be doing all you can to maintain emotional and mental stability.

There is always a battle.

In the midst of our battles, the temptation may be to retreat, to run as far as we can from our problems or to ignore the struggles altogether. The thing about battles is you can’t outrun them. They will find you and eventually, the fight must be fought.

But here’s what you need to know:

The battle is not yours to fight!

You have an ally, no –

a WARRIOR

who will fight for you.

Check this out. In God’s Word, we read of an impending battle in 2 Chronicles 20. God’s people were terrified because of the size of the army headed their way. Wise King Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord for help. Listen to what God said to His people:

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them… Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.

(2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV)

No matter the battle you are facing today, God can handle it. So quit wasting your time and energy with the same old strategies that only leave you worn out and defeated. Your job is to trust the Lord and stand firm in the battle.

Yep. You do have to show up for the fight.  Showing up may mean many different things – saying “no” to bad habits, enduring difficult people and uncomfortable situations, facing truths about yourself you’d rather not know or making impossible decisions. But rest assured. When you show up, you never have to be afraid. God’s got this!

I don’t know what battles you are facing today but God knows.  He’s ready to fight for you.  All you need to do is

SHOW UP

and

BE BRAVE!

Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility

Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Yum! Yum! There’s simply no other way to describe this Sweet Corn Pie.

Did you hear those words?

Sweet. Corn. Pie.

Uh. Yes, please!

Ever since I began broadening my cooking horizons, I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest looking for recipes that my family and I might enjoy. But rarely do I veer off the “Cooking for Dummies” beaten path. The recipes I attempt must be simple and require ingredients that I already have in my fridge or pantry. Most importantly, though, the recipes cannot contain “google” ingredients. You know the ones. Those strange ingredients you’ve never heard of so you’re forced to either call your mom or perform yet another google search that begins with, “What the heck is a…”

Let’s face it. If I have to google an ingredient, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not in my kitchen and an even greater chance I’m not going to try the recipe.

Fortunately for me, the recipe for this Sweet Corn Pie (There are those delicious words again!) was simple and straightforward. No google required. (You can find the recipe over at Natural Comfort Kitchen.)

I must say that my Sweet Corn Pie turned out perfectly. Well, almost…

You see, I didn’t have Panko crumbs so I substituted crushed Ritz crackers. And I didn’t have quite enough crackers but thought I’d get away with it because who besides me was gonna know how crumbly the pie topping was supposed to be?

I also didn’t have white pepper so I substituted black pepper. And I really should have googled the difference between the two. If I had, I would have known that my substitution of black pepper should have been in a smaller quantity because white pepper has a much milder flavor.

I didn’t have garlic cloves so I used minced.

I didn’t have kosher or sea salt so I used good ol’ table salt.

I didn’t have frozen or fresh corn so I used canned.

And lastly, I didn’t have a round pie plate so I used a rectangular casserole dish instead.

Now, you might be thinking the shape of the dish doesn’t make any difference. Au contraire, my friend. My grandmother and my great aunt prepared the same cornbread recipe all of their lives. The only difference was the shape of the pan they each used and my dad swore that my aunt’s cornbread in a round pan was much better than my grandmother’s cornbread in a square pan! Apparently, the shape of the dish is vital! Sadly, I don’t own a round pie plate. Why would I? I don’t bake pies. (Except for shepherd’s but that’s not really pie, now is it. 😉 )

So it seems my culinary masterpiece was not perfect at all. I improvised all the way through the recipe. But amazingly, the dish was wonderful. Three out of four in my household agree!

As I was eating my slice of sweet corn deliciousness and marveling at how flexible my cooking skills have become, I began to think (“A dangerous pastime – I know!”).

Wouldn’t it be nice if I was just as flexible in other areas of my life? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all were?Sweet Corn Pie: A Lesson on Flexibility - Do you find yourself struggling with the ever-changing circumstances of life? You may want to take a peak at the lessons I learned from attempting to cook this Yummy recipe. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comInstead of whining and complaining when we don’t have everything we want or even need, what if we learned to appreciate and make the best of all we do have?

Instead of counting people out or trying to make others fit our mold, what if we learned to appreciate the uniqueness of those around us?

Instead of insisting on a round pie plate way of doing things, what if we listened to the ideas of others, tried something new and acknowledged that a square pan might be just as good as a round one?

Hmm. That’s a whole lotta “What ifs” in one slice of Sweet Corn Pie! Oops – I mean chunk of Sweet Corn Pie – er – uh – maybe it’s Sweet Corn Casserole…

… ‘Cause everyone knows it can’t be pie unless it’s baked in a round pie plate! 😉

HAPPINESS in the New Year

Happiness in the New Year - Are you dragging the problems of the past into the new year? Here’s one way to deal with those struggles. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I don’t know about you but I’m ready to say “Good-bye” to 2018. This past year has felt like one endless struggle to keep afloat in the tumultuous waters of life. And let me tell you, treading water has never been my strong suit.

So as the clock ticks toward midnight, I’m looking forward to kicking 2018 to the curb.

Sayonara.

See ya.

Good riddance!

The problem is, though, flipping the calendar page does not ensure that the struggles of the old year, the messes, the dilemmas, the hurts, are going to disappear.

If only it were that simple.

But the coming of a new year, a new beginning, gives us the perfect opportunity to embrace a different outlook, to change the way we view our world and to embrace the hope of good things to come.

Happiness can be yours – and mine – in 2019. It’s true! (I’m beginning to sound like an infomercial! For just one down payment of $19.99 and 3 monthly payments of $49.99, you, too, can find your bliss in the new year!! Ha! Ha! I need to be in bed. 😉 )

Seriously. No matter your circumstances, no matter the struggles that are following you into the new year, the one thing that can make the difference between faltering under the heavy burdens of the past year (or years) and freeing yourself from binding chains allowing you to live each day of the new year (and years to come) to the fullest is…

… your perspective.

Happiness in the New Year - Are you dragging the problems of the past into the new year? Here’s one way to deal with those struggles. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Problems will always abound. How you approach them is key. Do you buckle under their weight and succumb to the siren song of “Woe is me”? Or do you search for the lesson behind the struggles and look forward to the wisdom and growth you will gain from your endurance?

Don’t spend your new year throwing pity parties! Happiness cannot live where complaining takes up residency.

Embrace the struggles as growth opportunities. Step back and look for the big picture. And remember, these situtations are only temporary.

God’s Word says this:

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Well, the sound of rockets bursting in the air tells me that we’ve completed another trip around the sun. WooHoo! It’s a new year and as we begin this next revolution, let’s remember to keep our focus on the eternal unseen – the hope of “an absolutely eternal weight of glory.” That’s it right there, folks. Your new perspective for 2019!

How can you change your perspective in 2019? Do you have any problems, situations or people that you need to view in a different light?

*****When you have a moment, go check out the post, Lean Into Loneliness, by Dr. Andrea Dinardo at Thriving Under Pressure.  What an inspiration it was for me this week and a reminder to “make the space for the lesson beneath the suffering.”*****

Happy, Happy New Year!

So Much More

 

So Much More - Embracing the true meaning of Thanksgiving | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

More than a holiday.

More than a gathering.

More than a meal.

It’s an attitude of gratitude.

It’s choosing to count your blessings

instead of your sorrows.

It’s a way of life.

Always be thankful.

“Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:20‬

May the spirit of Thanksgiving fill your hearts and carry you through all of your days!

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth

Duck Walk vs. Dog Face: The Battle for Self-Worth - Are you struggling with self-esteem issues? Learn how to fight back against what the world says you are and stand firm in who God says you are. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.comThere she was, sitting with her face buried in her hands, tears trickling through her fingers and soft sobs evading her feeble attempt at concealment.  I looked on with mixed emotions.  I was frustrated with the boy who caused the tears, sympathetic of the girl who had been offended and completely overwhelmed by memories from my past.  The scene was all too familiar and it carried me back to my childhood, to a time when I was sitting where this child sat, a time that forever changed my view of who God made me to be.

I was there – completely broken, tears streaming down my face and spirit crushed because of someone’s careless words.  I still remember the hurt I felt as I heard that awful name spewing from the mouth of a teenage boy in front of the whole world, or so it seemed.  We were on the school bus but it might as well have been the whole world.  I was 9 years old.  I was different because of a physical disorder and all I wanted was to fit in, to be accepted, to be normal.   That day, this teenager’s laughter and mocking dashed any hopes I had of that happening.

I couldn’t contain my tears.  I couldn’t wait to get off of that bus.   I wanted to be at home.  I wanted my mom.  And my mom is just who I needed because the advice she gave me that day impacted my life in ways I could never have imagined.  I don’t remember everything my mom said that afternoon but I will never forget what she told me to do the next day on the school bus.  She told me to fight back, to retaliate the next time this teenager called me a name.  I was a tiny little thing and this boy was probably four times my size but my mom said to stand my ground.  It empowered me.

I know what you are thinking.  “Your mom actually told you to call that kid a name?”  Yes, she did and she even gave me the name to call him!  And being the good little girl that I was, I did exactly what my mom told me to do.  The very next afternoon, after I struggled up the bus steps and began walking down the aisle to my seat, I heard it.  The words “Duck Walk” pierced through the commotion of kids playing and talking and hit me square in the back of the head.  I turned, glared straight into the boy’s face and returned insult for insult.  “Dog Face!” I blurted.  He did not strike back.  Instead, he smiled, sat down and never called me “Duck Walk” again.

At age 9, I didn’t quite grasp the value of the lesson I learned that day or fully understand all that my mom was trying to teach me but today, I have come to cherish the priceless wisdom I gained from that experience.  My mom was reminding me of who I was that afternoon when she told me to fight back.  She was showing me that God does not make mistakes despite the opinions of the world and that I cannot let anyone tell me differently.  I cannot let anyone steal my joy, my happiness or my hopes.  That’s quite a lesson learned from simply calling a bully a “Dog Face”!

And so, I passed this lesson on to the girl who had been insulted, the girl who is picked on every day at school because she does not look like everyone else.  No, I did not tell her to call her bullies some silly name – I left that to her mom!  But I did tell her to stand her ground, to take pride in who God made her to be, to defy Satan in his attempts to steal her joy, and to hold her head up high.  God has a purpose for this precious girl and she’s going to be just fine.  She may not understand it now but one day she’ll be standing in my place passing on this pearl of wisdom to another little girl or little boy who needs to know that God’s Love is so much greater than any insult hurled by this world and that God does not make mistakes.

The Price of Freedom

The Price of Freedom - Freedom is not free. Someone has to pay the price. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I wake up to a new day with hope for all it will bring.

I open a cabinet full of food that I may or may not eat.

I survey a closet full of clothes and mull over which shirt or shoes to wear.

I drive my car, not my husband’s truck or my son’s car, but MY car.

I take my children to a school where they not only learn to read and to write but also to make their own decisions, to socialize with their peers, to laugh, to get mad, to flourish, to fail.

I earn a paycheck at a job of my own choosing.  I can be late.  I can be on time.  I can work overtime.  I can speak freely.  I can advance.  I can quit.

I walk proudly into a voter’s booth and exercise my right to choose the officials I deem best suited for the job – without coercion, without threat of harm.

I attend a church without fear, without looking over my shoulder, without sneaking into dark corridors.

I can share my faith with a stranger openly, loudly, boldly.  That stranger can refute my faith openly, loudly, boldly and we can both return peaceably to our homes.

I can drink clean water.  I can buy junk food.  I can throw away bags and bags of clothes that no longer suit me.  I can hug my children.  I can go to the movies with my husband.  I can sing praises to my God.  I can shout at bad drivers.

I can do all these things and so much more because I am free – not of my own accord, no.  I am free because someone paid a price for my freedom, someone who did not even know me but who believed that I should be free to live as I choose and to believe as I choose.

You see, freedom is not free but I live as if it were.  I throw away this priceless gift each day while men and women give their lives to protect it.  Oh, how I take this freedom for granted and then I worry when I think it might be lost or waning.

But there is no need to fear for that someone who paid the price for my freedom, those courageous and selfless men and women in our armed forces will continue to fight even if all I do is throw it away.

Freedom is not free.  Someone has to pay the price.  I thank God for the Purchasers and Protectors of our Freedom.  I thank you, Veterans and members of the armed forces, for believing with all of your hearts, souls and lives that freedom is worth the price.

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I have a new-found appreciation for cake decorators. The skill, time, imagination and creativity required to produce even the simplest of cake designs is unfathomable.

Yet, I – the one who cannot prepare a single dish in the kitchen without following a recipe; the one who has no idea what most ingredients in a recipe are or what the instructions actually mean; the one who burns herself every time she even turns on the oven – yes, I thought myself equal to the cake bosses of this world and decided that I could create a spectacular Fallout birthday cake for my son’s 13th birthday.

Surely, I have what it takes.

Creativity ✔️ (I don’t like to brag but… 😉)

Imagination ✔️ (Isn’t that what Pinterest is for?)

Time ✔️ (1 Saturday morning should be plenty!)

Skill….

Ok. Three out of four ain’t bad!

I searched Pinterest for a beginner’s level cake design. “This should be easy enough,” I thought.

Courtesy of Tanya B on Pinterest

(Apparently, I don’t know the definition of “beginner.”)

Then, I hit the grocery store for the necessary ingredients: cake topper, cake mix, frosting, gel icing and grey fondant.

Hmmmm. No grey fondant.

Now this is where I should have stopped to reevaluate my plan. But noooooo, I simply grabbed some food coloring and went on my deluded way.

The plan was simple. The party was Saturday. We were to leave the house around 12:30 pm to begin the festivities. My mother-in-law would bake the cake Friday and I would put together the party bags on Friday evening after work.  Then Saturday, I would wake up early to decorate the cake.

I’ve got this…

Well, the party bags didn’t come together as quickly as I thought they would. I filled them with “goodies” from the Fallout game like “Sugar Bombs Cereal” (Goldfish Crackers), “Fancy Lads Cakes” (Hostess Cupcakes) and “Nuka Cola” (Coca-Cola) using templates for the food boxes and labels I found on Pinterest. Simple enough but I was up til 1:30 AM!

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

7:30 came very early Saturday morning – very early. But I had a cake to decorate so I dragged myself out of bed. I had lots to do but first things first:

COFFEE!

After a few sips, I did a quick google search for instructions on how to turn white fondant grey. I found a short video that instructed me to place several dots of food coloring on a ball of fondant and then fold and fold the fondant til the color worked its way through. Easy enough. But by the time the color had worked its way through the entire 24-oz package of fondant, I ended up with an oversized wad of used, purplish-colored chewing gum that was sticking not only to my hand but everything it touched. (Sorry – no picture.  My hands were kinda stuck!)

Grrrrr. Maybe more coffee will help.

After googling another video on how to make grey actually look grey, I finally got the purplish tint out of the fondant. Then using a whole lot of flour on my rolling pin, I was able to roll out the fondant into a big enough sheet to cover the cake.

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

I gotta tell you. This was a feat for puny, little me. I really need to start lifting weights!

Next up, I stacked the previously baked cake layers, added a thin coating of icing so the fondant would stick (As sticky as it already was, I don’t think I needed this step!), carefully rolled the sheet of fondant onto the cake and cut off the excess.

As I began the design, I looked back at the inspiration cake. Wait – my grey fondant was not dark enough!

It was 10:30 AM. What I should have done was shrug my shoulders and move on. But the perfectionist in me was screaming that it had to be darker.  All I could think to do was “paint” it with gel icing.

Bad decision. It turned out entirely too dark!I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

<Insert reluctant shoulder shrug here.>

On to the details – the sprockets.

Warning: Cutting sprockets out of fondant is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the Christian trying her best to keep all of the Ten Commandments. Number three was shot around sprocket number 3! (Not really. Well. I did have to bite my tongue over and over again!)

No matter how hard I tried to cut out those neat little sprockets shown in that God-forsaken Pinterest pic, my sprockets ended up looking like – well – not like the picture!

Sigh. As I placed each sprocket on the cake, my hope of redeeming my Fallout birthday cake crumbled into pieces.

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

With very little time remaining, I grabbed the icing to write the message on the cake and my heart sank even further. The icing was black. And I did not have enough of a lighter color. Ugh! I wrote the message and added the topper.

I Fought the Devil: Lessons Learned by a Novice Cake Decorator - Thinking of using fondant to decorate your next cake? You may want to read this first! | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

At least the cake was finished.

I suppose, for a novice, I didn’t do such a horrible job. In fact, I even learned something from this agonizing experience – two important somethings to be exact:

No. 1 – I don’t have to be perfect all of the time. (Wow, that was difficult to write!) My kid loved the cake and that’s all that matters, right?

No. 2 – Fondant is the Devil. And if you plan on squaring off with the Devil, you better be packing a whole lot more than beginner level cake decorating skills!

Whew!

I Fought the Devil... And I’m Pretty Sure the Devil Won! - Important lessons learned from a novice’s attempt at decorating with fondant | acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

(Yes, yes, there are only 12 candles on this cake. I found one that rolled under the paper plates as I was cleaning up. Par for the course, I suppose. At least no one else noticed. So we’ll just keep this little blunder between us!)

Keep Flying

Fly Copy

“So my teacher had this chiropractor come speak to our class today,” began my older son.  He’s in his junior year of college working toward his goal of becoming a physical therapist.

“He tried to convince us to become chiropractors,” my son continued. “He even told us how much money they make a year.”

“Well, I don’t care how much money they make. I’m not going to be a chiropractor,” he ultimately declared. “I don’t like spines!”

And suddenly I was transported back to a quiet bedroom in which a restless 3-year-old boy was lying in bed beside me as I attempted to lull him to sleep with a bedtime song.

“Do I have bones?” my three-year-old son timidly asked.

“Yes,” I answered without further explanation. I could tell his little mind was troubled so I waited patiently to see how this conversation would unfold.

After several minutes of pondering, he finally declared, “I don’t like bones!”

At this point, I knew exactly what sparked this conversation. Halloween had just passed and spooky decorations were everywhere. Houses were clad with spider webs, witches, monsters and… SKELETONS. And it was those creepy skeletons that scared my little boy the most. He just did not like them. So, I chose my next words very carefully.

“You know,” I said. “God gave you your bones. He made us all with bones.”

Following his 3-year-old logic, my little boy concluded and then hesitantly responded, “I don’t like God.”

“But God loves you very much! That’s why he made you with those bones,” I explained. “Without bones, you couldn’t do anything. You couldn’t sit; you couldn’t stand; you couldn’t walk. God gave you bones so you can be strong, you can jump, you can run and –”

“—And I can fly?” he optimistically interrupted as the wheels began to turn in that little head of his and a spark reignited in his sleepy eyes.

So, without any fear that I would be squashing the dreams of a three-year-old child, I emphatically replied, “Oh, no! Little boys cannot fly!”

But he’s been flying ever since!

Happy 20th Birthday, Son! Never stop soaring.

He Restores My Soul

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Because I overload my schedule,

Because I don’t know how to say “no”,

Because I keep everything to myself,

Because I believe asking for help is a sign of weakness,

Because I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders,

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He MAKES me.

He frees me of obligations.

He lightens my load.

He loosens my grip.

He reminds me that He is in control.

He quiets my heart and gives me rest.

He restores my soul.

Because He is the Good Shepherd and I –

I am his stubborn little sheep.