Some of you may know that I have been struggling with chronic digestive disorders for years. I am currently doing my best to correct it through diet and lifestyle changes. If you want more information about this, hop over to my other blog: MissionMama.com. (http://www.missionmama.com/category/homemade-basics/journey-of-gut-healing) It has been a tough couple of years. Through a lot of prayer and counsel, I have stepped down from being a Sunday School teacher. It was step down or fall down. I have watched people in my life drag their feet on stepping down out of “their” ministry, when God is clearly calling them out. I know why. I felt it myself. No matter how much we say that this is really “God’s” ministry, we still find some part of our identity entangled in it. I felt a loss when I stepped down after 13 years. I knew it was right. That gave me comfort, but still God has not showed me the next adventure. To be honest, that is a bit unsettling. I want to “do” something, and I want to know what it is. Sometimes I even want to give Him suggestions about what should be next. He just says, “Rest in Me and be present with the children I have given you.” It is good to step out before you fall out. What do I mean? We all know people who have held on to “their” ministry too long. Everyone but them seems to know that they are being called out. That often hurts the very ministry they have served for so long. I am not sure how this will effect SundayschoolLady.com. I have years worth of Sunday school lessons that I haven’t posted. When I find time, I still intend to contribute in this way. Where will I be spending my time? The energy that is left after chopping, cooking, soaking and creating recipes (since you can’t buy a cookbook with only the foods I can eat), will be spent enjoying my family. Yes, everything is homemade with whole foods and everything is cooked. I am embracing this part of my new life. It may take 10 times longer, but with the Lord’s help I can do it with joy. I want my children to see this in me. There is no reason to see this as a loss. God is on the move, and He is not finished with His work. Change is not bad; it is a healthy part of life.
Winter is the time of year that I start to think about Fruitcake. Mind you it is not because I have ever really eaten it, but it’s just when people talk about it. I was trying to find an allergy free treat for the Christmas season and so Fruits of the Spirit Fruit Cake was born (or baked). How can fruitcake be allergy free you may ask? By God’s grace, I have learned a few baking tricks. Each of the 9 weeks features a fruit, if you have a snack each week in your class…you will have an automatic allergy treat idea. Or you can just wait until the last day for the fruitcake. Since I had to dehydrate all of the fruits for my kids, I waited for the last week. Beware that dried fruits have sugar on them. Crazy I know! Who needs to add sugar to super sweet dried fruit? But even at the natural food store, I found sugar on the fruit. uhg! (That is why I dried my own.)
Fruits of the Spirit (3-11 age) Understanding Spiritual Fruit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
LOVE is being there in everything and is like a PEAR. If you cut a pear in half it looks like a heart shape.
JOY is having confidence in God and is like a CHERRY.In one juicy, tangy bite, the cherry offers its splendor. But watch out! Before discarding its delicious meat, you must discard the pit.
PEACE is resting in God and is like a PEACH. The peach has a very good smelling flower that can remind a person of peace.
PATIENCE is hanging in there with hard-to-love people and is like BLACKBERRIES. It takes a lot of patience to pick blackberries. If the picker is not patient they will get pricked.
KINDNESS is meeting needs nicely and is like a PINEAPPLE. The pineapple has long stood as a symbol of hospitality. From Hawaii to New York, a pineapple as a present welcomes guests to a home and underlines their inclusion in a family’s circle.
GOODNESS is being like God inside and out and is like a CANTALOUPE. When the cantaloupe is cut in half it can be a container to hold lots of balls of cantaloupe for you to share with others. It is a picture of God’s goodness.
FAITHFULNESS is being true to God and is like a bunch of GRAPES. Grapes are faithful. An established grape vine will yield grapes without any care at all. Year after year the grapes will grow.
GENTLENESS is yielding oneself to God and is like a BANANA. The banana is a sensitive fruit. Its skin provides incomplete protection. Often if its skin is bruised, so is the fruit within.
Click the link to download a copy of the FruitCake Fruits of the Spirit.
Allergy Free (depending on what allergy) FruitCake Recipe:
- 10 green plantains with brown dots on them
- 1 1/2 c coconut oil (or palm shortening)
- 6 droppers vanilla stevia or 6 Tbsp honey
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 c pear/apple sauce
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp fresh ginger
- 1/4 c dry pears
- 1/2 c dry cherries
- 1/4 c dry peaches
- 1/4 c day mangos (cantaloupe)
- 1/4 c dry blue berries/ black berries
- 1/4 c dry pineapple
- 1/4 c dry grapes – raisins
- 1/4 c dry apples
Blend plantains, oil, stevia/honey, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together with a stick blender. Taste it the ripeness of the plantains can change the sweetness of the bread significantly. Place in greased bread loaf pans and bake on 350 for 30-45 min. If you need it to be a little sweeter. One of the mixes I used 2 really ripe plantains in 1/2 a batch. It still turned out. 2 ripe plantains is the maximum for this recipe. The dough will get watery.
Santa’s Workshop shows the kids that everyone, no matter how small, can be like Santa and give gifts. Of course giving gifts wasn’t Santa’s idea, it all started with the King of the World giving us gifts. Because of the kindness God showed us, we can freely give. And such fun it is too!
Kids love doing crafts and here is an opportunity for them to shine. The gifts I chose are multi level, useful, and fun to make. It is important that the children have the ability to put their style and personality into a craft, so that is also a consideration I took into account when picking the gift choices. These crafts are all gluten free! Including the clay!
- Initial Mugs
- Family Hand Tree
- Fire Starter cups: Fill small paper dixie cups or paper egg cartons with shredded paper/saw dust/drier lint, add wicks to each cup, and pour meted wax into the cup. When dry cut them apart.
- Match Kit
- Initial Mugs
- Clay ornament/necklace
- Family Hand Tree
- Eye Pillow: Make a small rectangle pillow, but don’t sew the last side. Add eye pillow ingredients. Sew last side. Eye Pillow Ingredients: 1 c whole flax seeds, 1/4 c Epsom salt, 1/4 c lavender buds (optional), 5 drops lavender essential oil, and 1 drop lime essential oil. Mix.
- Epsom Salt Fizz in a Jar
For Santa’s shop to be fully stocked I will need a few donations that you may have sitting around your house.
- Bits of candles
- Dryer lint or sawdust
- Egg cartons
- Cotton candle wick
- Lavender stems/buds
- Epsom salt
- Scraps of pretty fabric
- Large bag of flax seeds
- Permanent markers
- White mugs
- Letter stickers
- Small glass Jars
- Corn starch
- Elmer’s school glue
- Thin Ribbons
Tis’ the Season to Prepare for the advent of Christ’s birth. Advent starts November 27th this year. It is time to order the Jesse Tree Advent Devotional and Lapbook kit. This is a super fun way to prepare your families’ hearts for Christmas.
What does it look like in our house: We add Christmas lights in the dinning room along with the candles and often have special desserts (especially on Sundays). Our kids love advent! At dinner we turn off the regular lights, light the candles, read the Bible and devotional (included), put an ornament on the tree (included), and sing our favorite Christmas songs. The kids love to blow-out the candles. Your kids will love this tradition, and you will love that they are excited about the real advent of Christmas. They will know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and have a lot of fun doing it.
**There is a bulk discount for churches**
Some extra ideas to add to the celebration:
- Donate something each night
- Make special meals like red and green dinner (everything is red and green)
- Shepherd’s Night (I’ll explain on a future post.)
- Christmas Cards (decide who, sign and stuff, address…sprinkle it though out the week)
- volunteer at a food bank
- Creative Sundays on Sunday (SOS: make your own ice cream sunday)
- Christmas Cookie decorating
- Make Christmas presents for the animals (i.e. pinecone bird feeder)
- Make cookies for a widow/someone lonely) you know and go visit
- Have a Mission Christmas Party–Food, fun and everyone donates and votes on gifts for others in need.
- Stealth Elfing
Whit’s End is a super-duper great place to go. We are big Odyssey fans. So to our family, it’s like going to Disney. Ice cream shop, 3 story slide and lots of imagination inspiring activities. They even have an amazing Christian bookstore. If you are planning a trip this summer that passes by Colorado Springs, CO, be sure to take time to stop by Focus on the Family.