Life in Lape Haven

Archive - April 2016

Tried It Tuesday: How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Less than a month ago, I posted about finding a solution for getting grease stains out of my boys’ clothes, and at the end of the blog, since I’ve also shared how I get dry erase marker out of my kindergartener’s jeans and how I found a simple way to remove silly putty from fabric, I said, “I wonder what new stain my little boys will find for me to become an expert on next…”

Well, it didn’t take long. In fact, I actually should have seen this one coming. I mean, I’m a mom of two active, energetic, outdoors-loving little boys.

With spring’s arrival, I should have known it was inevitable.

Bring on the grass stains.

Yep, no sooner had our grass turned from yucky dead brown to bright, newly-sprouted green, than those infamous streaks of green showed up on clothes all through my laundry baskets.

A couple of days after we set up the boys’ new-to-us wooden swing set, I had 5 pairs of grass-stained jeans to tackle.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Knowing that I was staring at my summer laundry nemesis that day, I went straight to two sources as I searched for help in heading off this stain epidemic:

Pinterest and my mother.

While I knew Pinterest holds all kinds of solutions for pretty much every household problem ever, I also knew that my mom had dealt with her share of grass stains, thanks to my two busy, athletic brothers, both of whom played football.

Pinterest’s solutions included using rubbing alcohol or hair spray as a solvent on the stain, and a lot of pre-treating, scrubbing, soaking, and rewashing. Hmmm.

Mom’s answer: “For the boys’ football pants, I just used laundry detergent to pre-treat, then scrubbed it well, and washed the clothes in cold water. If it didn’t come out, I washed it again. If it’s white, you can bleach it, also.”

(I imagine that if the clothing were white, you could also set it out in the sun, and let the sun help you bleach it out, too, if you wanted, like you do with cloth diapers.)

Thankfully, I don’t have boys ruining football pants, yet. I just have tumble-bumble boys sliding around the grass on the knees of their jeans. 🙂

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

So, I combined the answers and tried it out on those five pair of jeans, one of which had a grass stain that had *gasp & sigh* ALREADY GONE THROUGH THE DRYER! Ugh.  Like all stains, grass stains are best taken care of as soon as possible!

I didn’t hold out much hope for that rogue pair of pants, but the other four, I could fix them, right?

Step 1

I started out with my new standby solvent – hand sanitizer. It works for the dry erase marker & the silly putty, and some of the solutions I found for grass stains mentioned using alcohol, so I applied some of the gel and rather than scour it with my “cleaning toothbrush,” I used my fingernails to kind of scratch at the stain. I had read that you wanted to lift the stain out. Okay.

Step 2

I sprayed each stain with Spray’N’Wash Pre-treater and scrubbed it in, lightly, with my cleaning toothbrush.

Step 3

Each stain then also received a good dollop of laundry detergent. In my researching, it said to use detergent with enzymes. My detergent doesn’t have enzymes, but I used it anyway. I scrubbed that in.

Step 4

I waited about 30 minutes or so before I washed the garments in cold water. I had some other jeans that needed stain treated for those lovely dry erase marker stains, so that’s what I spent some of my “waiting” time doing. Then I threw all the jeans into the washer.

Step 5

DON’T PUT THEM IN THE DRYER!!!! I looked over the clothing to see if the stains were gone. I let them all air dry until I could really tell if there was any staining left. While they did look better, I wanted them completely stain-free.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

Step 6

If they aren’t clean enough, you can repeat all the steps over again. Or not. I just used a little more pre-treater and scrubbing, let it sit a few minutes, and washed them again in cold water. This time when they came out, I was happy. All of the pants, except the ones that I had put through the dryer accidentally, came out free of staining. The dried-in pair didn’t come out all the way, but it was much, much better.

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Get Grass Stains Out of Clothes. Two active little boys and spring mean that grass stains are showing up on lots of the clothes in my laundry. I have found a fairly easy way to get grass stains out of their jeans and clothing, without soaking the grass stained garments for hours.

So, there you go – my not-too-difficult way to get grass stains out of clothing.

Since my laundry stain repertoire seems to keep growing, stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll be adding to it soon.

How to Get Grease Stains (even set-in ones) Out of Clothing

A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get Silly Putty Out of Fabric

How to Get Dry Erase Marker Out of Clothing


Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid: #6 – Not Being Like “The World” Doesn’t Mean You Have to Hide From It

Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: Not Being "Like the World" Doesn't Mean You Have to Hide From It - While we don't want our kids to look and be like the world around them, but rather set apart for God, we also want them to be prepared to face the world and not just hide from it so that they can reach it with God's love.

In wrapping up my series of “Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid,” I’m looking ahead through the wisdom I’ve gained growing up in church and in a ministry family and thinking about how I want to apply those experiences in laying a solid foundation of faith for my children and encouraging their personal relationships with Jesus.

(If you’ve missed my first five confessions, you can catch up: Confession #1, Confession #2, Confession #3, Confession #4, & Confession #5.)

Of everything I’ve seen in the churches and Christianity, I think one of the hardest balances for a parent to find is guiding their children in being “in the world, but not of it.” In the wicked, evil time that we live, it’s easy to want to hide our children away from everything, but there will come a day when our children will have to face it all, and they will need to decide and know without a doubt in Whom THEY have believed.

Today’s Confession: Not Being Like “The World” Doesn’t Mean You Have to Hide From It

In Georgia, we lived on a beautiful little acre in the country that had all kinds of flowers and trees. Every spring, I could sit on the porch swing and enjoy the azaleas, jasmine, gardenias, and honeysuckle perfuming the air. However, my favorite flowers were the wild yellow roses that grew along the fence line of our driveway.

Year later, I remember using those roses as an example of what I wanted to be. In a conversation with my friend, I compared store-bought, cultivated roses, or “hothouse roses,” with wild roses. They are so different when you look at them. One is grown in a very protected environment, with temperature control, the right plant food, plenty of water, and very little adversity. Then you have a flower that just blooms out in the middle of everything – weather, pests, lawn mowers- and yet it blossoms despite it all.  While the cultivated rose may look beautiful and more perfect, it will NEVER match a wild rose for fragrance.

Our children can either be sheltered, bland hothouse roses that smell like basically every other flower in the shop, or they can be strong, thriving FRAGRANT wild roses who can truly impact the world around them.

Now don’t misunderstand my analogy. I’m not saying that we don’t watch out for our children or that we just throw them out into the world and hope they flourish.

What I see in a wild rose is a balance of being set apart while not being totally protected from the weeds, bugs, and storms.

I’ve seen two extremes in Christian parents’ views of raising their children. Some go entirely for “in the world,” allowing their children to be and look like “the world” and never guiding them in being “set apart.” They don’t make God and church a real priority for their family, they permit whatever music or movies or friends their kids want, and they don’t set a standard of holiness for their family. Then they wonder why their children don’t have a strong relationship with God and can’t stand against temptation. (I would say that this flower never blossoms or bears fruit.)

The other extreme are those who avoid everything not “Christian” and focus only on being “not of the world,” controlling everything their children are, or might be, or someday will be, exposed to that isn’t Godly. They obsess over media, don’t have any friends who are nonbelievers, and live by a lot of rules. They generally end up with children who either strongly rebel or kids who live in fear of or constant judgment of those “in the world.” (This would be your greenhouse-raised roses. They usually don’t flourish outside of their original environment.)

Growing up, I knew way more children who were in the second group, very sheltered, than I did those whose parents let them behave just like someone who wasn’t a Christian. I knew Christian kids who couldn’t watch more than a few hours a week of television or movies, kids who weren’t allowed to participate in any parties at school, kids who couldn’t watch Disney…ever, kids who couldn’t listen to any non-Christian music (not even oldies), kids who couldn’t go to the mall, even kids who couldn’t pick their own hairstyles until they were teens.

Should we monitor what our children watch, listen to, read, whom they play with, what they are doing online, and what they are learning in school?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Absolutely.

We don’t need to expose our little ones to things that aren’t age-appropriate or discuss topics with them that they aren’t mature enough to handle. We use wisdom.

We are accountable to God for what we allow into our children’s lives and for the example we set for them. We are definitely called to be different from the world and stand out. (1 Peter 2:9)

But some of those kids stood out for reasons that had nothing to do with Jesus. They tended to be socially awkward, a little immature, and they couldn’t even relate well to other kids in the church.

We can’t hide everything from our children for the first 18 years of their lives, and then expect them to be prepared to face a sinful, perverse, fallen world in a Godly way when they are on their own.

Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: Not Being "Like the World" Doesn't Mean You Have to Hide From It - While we don't want our kids to look and be like the world around them, but rather set apart for God, we also want them to be prepared to face the world and not just hide from it so that they can reach it with God's love.

Because someday, every child who has been “raised in church” or brought up in a Christian home will face what I call “the jumping off point.”

Someday your child will look at everything you’ve taught them, everything they’ve heard about God, every miracle they’ve witnessed, every prayer that they know has been answered, every rule they’ve been given, every verse they’ve ever read, and they will have to decide, on their own, for themselves, if it’s real. If THEY believe it. If THEY trust Him. If THEY are going to build the foundation of their life on Jesus.

It can happen even after they’ve already given Him their heart. Even after they’ve already said a prayer. Even after they’ve already been used to minister to their friends.

They may face doubts or questions, but that’s okay. God can handle it. He’s a big God. And He knows that they HAVE to make the jump from “what I’ve always been taught” to “what I BELIEVE with all that I am” if they are truly going to serve Him with their life.

The ones that I’ve seen have the hardest time navigating that jump are those who have either been allowed to be “too in the world” or hidden away to be “too not of it.”

Growing up, I watched TV and movies, and I played with neighbor kids who weren’t from Christian homes. We had rules, though. I remember we weren’t allowed to watch “The Simpsons,” but I didn’t really have a desire to. We watched “The Wizard of Oz” (I knew the difference between a fairy tale witch and real witchcraft) and Disney movies, even “The Little Mermaid” (When I was in 5th grade, I wasn’t looking for the bad stuff that was supposedly “hidden” in the movie. Ariel just had awesome underwater hair.)

I attended public school for most of my K-12 education (very thankful for the Christian school education I received from 6th-9th grade, though). I heard about evolution, but I knew what I believed because I’d been reading my Bible. In high school, I went through Sex Ed (ugh), but I’d already had conversations with my mom and the example of my parents’ Godly marriage to balance the “everybody is going to do it” assumption of the curriculum. I sat next to drug addicts and trouble makers in homeroom, but they came to me with prayer requests and genuine questions about God because I wasn’t hiding who I was or Him Whom I believed.

I remember asking God how I could relate to the people around me, since I hadn’t been through some of the rough things they had and I hadn’t done any of the “bad things” they had. How could I reach them?

And He reminded me of Someone else who had been among them but not like them, and He changed the entire world.

I didn’t have to become like them to relate to them.

And even though I was NOT like the world, I didn’t have to hide from it. I could reach it.

Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: Not Being "Like the World" Doesn't Mean You Have to Hide From It - While we don't want our kids to look and be like the world around them, but rather set apart for God, we also want them to be prepared to face the world and not just hide from it so that they can reach it with God's love.

That’s what I want for my children: To be fragrant wild roses that flourish, set apart, but attracting those around them with the essence of the God in Whom they believe.

John 17:14-18  “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

Let Me Be Singing: This Mother’s Anthem for Good & Bad Days

Life in Lape Haven: Let Me Be Singing: This Mother's Anthem for Good and Bad Days. As parents we have great days and rough days, but we never have to face them alone. We can rely on God's strength and find our joy in Him . This popular Christian worship song by Matt Redman has become my anthem and heart-cry, especially for those rough days. I want to be singing when the evening comes.

When I was in the thick of adjusting from being mommy of just one child to mommy of two children, there were some rough days. Not only was Josiah doing his newborn best to get us up as much as possible every night, but Elijah was showing his three-ness with a vengeance.

On those days, I struggled with holding onto the joy of being a mother, and it felt as though all that was left was the chaos. I would feel guilty and inadequate and overwhelmed. It wasn’t how I wanted to feel. I wanted to be able to find the good, like Pollyanna, and choose to be joyful, even when I was tired.

Around this time, I remember one Sunday when we were singing Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” and it was as though the song was written as my own personal anthem, especially the first verse.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Every morning I would rise with great intentions to have a better day than the one before, to face “whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me” with a determination to still “be singing when the evening comes.” I didn’t want to end every day defeated and beat down. But when your alarm clock is a baby crying or a toddler’s whining, you can feel drained before you even get out of bed.

But, lo and behold! The answer is in the chorus of the same song:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name”

It was a reminder that, yes, we can choose to bless the Lord in everything. We can encourage ourselves in the Lord like David did (1 Samuel 30:6). We don’t have to let the frustrations overwhelm us. We can look to Him.

I think I get most overwhelmed and frustrated when I feel as though I have to do it all, and do it all myself. I’m the mom. When it’s just my boys and me at home, I’m the lone adult – I fix the food, I change the diapers, I soothe the crankies, I clean the messes, I enforce the rules. Sometimes those things are not easy or joyful.

Plus, I know that no matter how awesome of a super mom I am, I am not enough on my own. Moms, Dads – we’re not enough, despite what some cutesy, well-intentioned memes or inspirational quotes tell us. On my own, alone, I will never be enough for my children. I can’t be.

And yet, WITH God…well, all things are possible.

I don’t HAVE to do it all on my own or alone.

If the first verse is the cry of my heart, and the chorus is the reminder of “from whence cometh my help,” then the second verse is the reassurance that God has me (and my children) in His hands, and that’s a beautiful place to be.

“You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find”

Since God has given me my children, He has equipped me to parent them, and when I rely on Him, then His joy can be my strength on the good days and the rough ones. He loves us all richly, and He is patient and kind. He’s forgiving when I make mistakes in parenting my boys, and He’s there to guide me and help me do it right. He gives me wisdom when I have no idea what I’m doing, and He helps me see the humor in so many of their innocent, but disastrous messes.

It’s not just looking for the good, but looking to His goodness, that will have me still “singing when the evening comes.”

 

Feature image courtesy of Pixabay/Pexels.

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

With spring now in full bloom, my boys want to be outside as much as they can. When I meet Elijah at school at the end of the day, the first words out of his mouth now are, “Can we go to the park?” If that gets turned down for some reason, the next question is, “Can we play outside?”

Knowing those boys have plenty of energy to burn off, I’m more than willing to comply as often as possible. When we come back inside, I have to be ready for their next favorite question, “Can we have a snack?”

Today, the boys are in for a surprise because with their snack they’ll be getting to mix up some chocolate milk with homemade chocolate syrup, which they LOVE.

I only make chocolate syrup every so often, not because it’s difficult or expensive (it’s neither), but because if I kept our refrigerator stocked with the syrup, chocolate milk would be all my boys (and husband) would drink. 🙂 When we have it on hand, we also go through a lot more milk, of course!

Besides that, during the colder months of the year, my crew is more about hot chocolate and hot tea. Spring and summer are the months that really call for chocolate milk –  or ice cream with chocolate syrup (Yep, it’s great for that, too.).

I first started making chocolate syrup a few years ago when I saw a recipe for chocolate syrup posted on One Good Thing by Jillee. It looked easy enough, and you know – CHOCOLATE, so I made some.

My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate but is chocolate milk’s number one fan, was so impressed with how good it was that my first batch was gone really, really, really quickly.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

I did tweak the recipe, just a bit. Since I love dark chocolate, I always buy both regular cocoa and dark chocolate cocoa. This way I can “darken” any chocolate recipe, even a little bit – brownies, no bakes, chocolate syrup. I do a mix of both varieties of cocoa so that it’s not too strong for the guys, but it’s a bit more chocolatey for me. 🙂

This homemade chocolate syrup is so easy, quick, and inexpensive, not to mention healthier than store-bought syrup, I haven’t actually bought chocolate syrup since!

Instead, I break out this recipe whenever we need a little treat on a warm day.

Here’s how I make Homemade Chocolate Syrup:
Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Sugar
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoas, and salt.
  2. Slowly add the water and stir.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the syrup starts boiling, reduce the heat and cook about 1 minute. The syrup may still boil up a bit, which is why I use a slightly larger-than-necessary saucepan.
  5. Remove your pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Allow the syrup to cool, and then transfer to a sealed container (Mason jar, condiment bottle, etc).
  7. Store in the refrigerator.
  8. Note: You may end up with a little syrup left in the saucepan. I just pour in a little milk, stir it up, and make the first cup of chocolate milk with that! Can’t let any of that chocolate goodness go to waste. 🙂
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/04/19/tried-tuesday-homemade-chocolate-syrup/

 

 

 

Confessions of a Preacher’s Kid: #5 – How I’ve Maintained a Strong Faith

Life in Lape Haven: Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: #5 - How I've Maintained a Strong Faith. As a preacher's kid, I've been encouraged, challenged, and strengthened by a lot of things, but there are three things that have been vital to maintaining my relationship with God.

Since I grew up in church and as a pastor’s kid, I’ve been to Sunday morning, Sunday night, and midweek services; heard countless testimonies of God’s grace, provision, and healing power; attended prayer meetings, lock-ins, revival services, youth events, and Christian concerts;  been baptized, prayed for, and given prophetic words; heard now-famous preachers speak in our churches; attended Christian school for 4 years; listened to Christian music; and been on a mission trip.

I’ve pretty much had all the typical Christian experiences that should be life-changing and encouraging for me in my Christian walk, and yet those experiences are not what kept my faith in God strong and thriving. As I look back over 32 years of following Jesus, there are three things that stand out as the crucial, critical components in consistently growing my relationship with God, and they are all so closely connected that it’s difficult to separate them.

TODAY’S CONFESSION: How I’ve Maintained a Strong Faith

While  I’ve been encouraged, challenged, and strengthened in many ways in my faith and during my walk with God, the most important things are rather simple – spending time with God and reading the Bible regularly, learning how to worship daily, and stepping out to serve and minister to others.

SPENDING TIME WITH GOD

We know that as Christians, we should be praying and reading the Bible daily. Sometimes we devour the scriptures and other times we struggle to understand (or even stay awake). There are days when it’s easy to pour out our hearts to God, and days when words are difficult. Still, it’s important!

Knowing God’s Word is how you renew your mind, strengthen your spirit, understand how God calls us to live, and really get to know Who God is and His heart toward you. Praying is our conversation with Him. Without an ongoing dialogue, how can we really say we have a “relationship with God”?

When I was young, I began spending time with God at bedtime, and that’s still my style – praying, reading, and even journaling. Of course, it’s a lot easier to have time alone to spend with God when you’re a child, teenager, or young adult. Once you’re married, and especially when you have children, you can plan, but sometimes it’s hard to guarantee quiet time at the same time every day. Try to get up early, and the kids will be right there with you, even if they usually sleep later. Dare to stay up a bit later, and good luck! ZZzzzz. Haha.

However, just like you work to make time for your spouse because you recognize its importance, spending time with God has to be a priority. When it is, you will find the time, even if it’s different every single day – I’ve prayed while vacuuming or folding clothes or in the car, read my Bible while rocking Josiah at naptime, listened to sermons while making dinner, etc.

Do I ever miss a day reading my Bible? Yes. Sometimes. Do I have major intercession every day? No. Sometimes it’s just a few sentences here and there throughout the day.

However, doing my best to be diligent in seeking God and making Him a continuous part of my day helps to keep my relationship with God strong.

Life in Lape Haven: Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: #5 - How I've Maintained a Strong Faith. As a preacher's kid, I've been encouraged, challenged, and strengthened by a lot of things, but there are three things that have been vital to maintaining my relationship with God.

LEARNING TO WORSHIP

I can’t read the Bible without increasing my awareness of God’s greatness, and I can’t pray without thanking God for His goodness.  Spending time in God’s Word and in talking with Him inevitably leads me to worshipping Him, being in awe of all He is and all He’s done.

And while a person standing in utter silence can be worshipping the Lord more genuinely than a person singing the most dramatic and moving lyrics, I was made with music inside me for a reason.

For me, I was born with a desire to sing and dance. According to my parents I was wiggling off the couch to the Peanuts theme, “Linus & Lucy,” before I could even walk. I made up songs and dances for everything, probably every day. I wanted to take dance lessons, but we couldn’t afford it when I was growing up. I loved old movie musicals, and at one point, I even wanted to be a choreographer when I grew up (which is hard when you’ve not actually taken dance).

However, I learned early on the difference between just enjoying singing and dancing or singing along with songs on Sunday morning or on the radio in the car and truly worshipping God.

Worshipping God is more than singing, clapping, lifting your hands, or dancing, although generally those are part of how you express it. Sometimes His awesomeness is so overwhelming you that you can’t move or speak. Other times, you can’t help but let your love for God come out of your mouth and go deeper into your heart as you try to express how wonderful He is with every part of you.

I remember the very first time I raised my hands in worship to God. It was something I’d grown up seeing and understanding, but it still took me by surprise. I was about 7 or 8, sitting in the front row of the church my dad was pastoring, and singing along with the praise and worship music during the regular service in the sanctuary. No one requested for us to lift our hands, but as I sang, I just felt God’s nudge to be brave and worship Him more. I wasn’t trying to be like the adults. I was being obedient, and I immediately sensed God’s presence in a brand new way.

I later had the opportunity in about fifth or sixth grade to be a part of our church’s interpretive dance team and for me that opened up an ever deeper level of worshipping. That natural dancing desire in me was given a chance to be used by Him in a beautiful way, and I could imagine myself in front of God’s throne, worshipping Him with everything in me. I might not have been trained, but my heart was all His.

And I have that heart to this day, every day, not just on Sundays in a congregational setting with a band, a choir, and lights. I turn on praise and worship music when I’m doing dishes and cleaning house, singing and dancing around my home. I’ve sung worship to God as I sing my boys to sleep or in the shower. Just like praying and reading the Bible, and because it can flow from that, worshipping is peppered throughout my days.

ACTIVATED FAITH

Reading, praying, and worshipping point me over and over again to how wonderful Jesus is, and the natural outcome of this is that I share Him with those around me, sometimes without even trying to.

One of the biggest memories I have of third grade is when a girl in my class stopped me in the bathroom one day and asked me how she could follow Jesus. Suddenly, there I was, about 8-years-old, praying with one of my classmates to give her heart to God. I honestly don’t remember “preaching” to the kids in my class. I don’t think I did. Watching how Elijah is now with his growing faith, I’m pretty sure I was similar. It just comes out of the relationship you have with Him.

I’ve have found that nothing grows your faith like sharing it. Being physically active strengthens your body, and ministering to others stretches and strengthens you spiritually. Just like your body, you can only take in so much before you become unhealthy from inactivity.

As I grew up, I was blessed to be a part of churches that encouraged us as children to find and develop our gifts and talents. Not only did I have a chance to participate in ministering as part of the dance team, but I was active in drama, puppets, and singing during our children’s church services nearly every week. Once I got to junior high, I worked in the nursery, continued in dance and drama, and had my first opportunity to be a part of outreach into the community, helping with a Saturday afternoon ministry for children.

In high school, that seed of ministry flourished under a youth pastor who challenged and guided us. When our church began a Saturday morning Sidewalk Sunday school ministry, everything I’d been trained in, every talent that God had given me, came into play in an amazing, life-altering way. My heart for children, my singing-dancing-dramatic self, even my teaching ability found a perfect fit in that kind of ministry.

In my experience, one of the worst things for “church kids” and “church adults” is when they fail to truly activate their faith, when they never share what they’ve been receiving all their lives.

One of my friends in youth group said something during one of our youth meetings once that I will always remember. In a challenge to us as she shared one night, she said, “You have the Bread of Life living inside of you. Are you going to let it get stale and moldy, or are you going to use it to feed the hungry?”

Life in Lape Haven: Confessions of a Preacher's Kid: #5 - How I've Maintained a Strong Faith. As a preacher's kid, I've been encouraged, challenged, and strengthened by a lot of things, but there are three things that have been vital to maintaining my relationship with God.

She knew that we, her fellow youth members, were experiencing God’s presence regularly and studying His Word. She knew that we often had amazing worship services in that too-small youth room, times when God spoke to us and ministered mightily to our hearts.

But if we did nothing with that, we were wasting it, letting God’s goodness go stale in our lives.

The cool thing about ministering to others, though, is that when you give out what God has given to you, it forces you to go back and get more from Him so that you have more to give out, again and again.

Spending time with God compels you to share Him, and sharing Him compels you to spend more time with Him.

It’s a cycle that keeps your faith flourishing and growing in Him.

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For more of my confessions of a preacher’s kid, you can read my earlier confessions:

#1 – Being Raised in Church Isn’t Enough

#2 – My Parents Never Expected Us to “Perfect Preacher’s Kids”

#3 – I Don’t Talk About God All the Time

#4 – True Ministry Isn’t Easy or Glamorous

JUNK CEREAL SATURDAY: How an Idea from My Hubby Makes Breakfast Easier Every Day

Life in Lape Haven - Junk Cereal Saturday: How an Idea from My Hubby Makes Breakfast Easier Every Day. Mornings have enough reasons for stress and kids arguing. What cereal my boys can eat for breakfast isn't one of them. A rule that my hubby and I decided on before our boys were born helps us keep them making healthy choices without missing the fun and makes our Saturday morning memorable and special.

Recently a mom friend of mine was talking about her kids and how one of them wanted a certain not-so-great cereal all the time – breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. Having a picky eater myself, I know that struggle is real. However, it made me appreciate a rule about cereal that my hubby and I decided on for our home before our boys had ever had any.

When Brad and I first met, he was not a breakfast eater. However, once we were married, he got into the habit of at least having something, mostly because I HAVE to eat breakfast, and he would have breakfast with me.

At some point, either when I was pregnant with Elijah or shortly after he was born, Brad and I had a discussion about breakfast and what cereals we would allow our children to eat. Being the more health-conscious parent, my rules were no artificial dyes and lower sugar content, with more natural, nutritious, and organic options being preferred.

Brad, however, made a stand for allowing fun cereals, or what we call “junk cereals,” at least on occasion. Junk cereals would be all the ones you always wanted as a kid – you know, they have an engaging mascot on a brightly colored box that usually advertises an exciting “prize” hidden among the not-good-for-you-at-all-but-delicious-and-sugary O’s, flakes, or clusters.

Bringing in a good dose of nostalgia to his arguments, Brad painted the picture of waking early on a Saturday morning and enjoying that type of cereal while watching cartoons in your pajamas.

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“They at least need that option on Saturday,” he stated. He wanted his children to have those fun memories that he did. Either that, or he just wanted that kind of cereal for himself. Haha. I think it was both.

So we reached a compromise: Junk Cereal Saturday.

Since that day, our boys have both grown up knowing that Sunday through Friday, they have to pick from our healthiest options on the days we eat cereal (Cereal or oatmeal are usually the go-to, especially on school days. Bigger breakfasts with eggs, pancakes, or something more involved happen when I have more time in the mornings.)

We have no whining or begging for those “fun” cereals because they know the Junk Cereal Saturday rule, and like anything else with parenting, when you lay out the guidelines and stick to them without wavering from the start, the kids are less likely to push those boundaries. The few times that the boys have asked for a junk cereal during the week, all we have to do is remind them that that particular cereal is for Saturday.

Because of this, Saturday is extra special for our boys, and they get genuinely excited when they remember that it’s Junk Cereal day. They get to indulge in the fun cereals, and they love it.

Of course, being the sneaky Mom that I am, I still make sure that even our “junk cereals” are relatively healthy. There are so many options now for more natural, dye-free cereals that look fun and taste yummy that it’s pretty easy. We love Kashi, Barbara’s, Cascadian Farms, Mom’s Best, and Aldi’s Simply Nature. Since they only eat junk cereal once a week, it lasts, too, so even if it’s not on sale, we aren’t spending too much. (But I always stock up when good cereal is on sale or I have a coupon!) I’ve even had the boys ask me if a certain cereal is “junk cereal,” hoping that it is, and I just say, “Sure. It can be,” even when, in my mind, it isn’t. Haha.

Knowing that they get to look forward to a special cereal on a day that they can really enjoy it makes my boys’ choices (and attitudes) in the morning easier every day of the week. Knowing that my boys aren’t filling up on empty calories and junk that their growing little bodies don’t need (and we don’t need either) makes my morning easier. Having a guideline set out that we all know and accept makes the mornings easier for us all.

And yes, on most Saturdays, you can find my boys in their pajamas, munching on their special cereal, and watching their cartoons with Mommy and Daddy, enjoying Junk Cereal Saturday to the fullest.

Does your family have a unique food rule or favorite Saturday tradition?