Sometimes You Just Gotta Play in the Rain

Last week it rained a lot.  Pretty much it rained every morning, day, and night.  Our yard looked like a swamp, and whoever had to venture outside for any reason immediately regretted the results of cold, soaking wet feet.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living here in the Pacific Northwest, rain can get old really fast.  It can be depressing.  Day after day of steady cold rain is just no fun.

By Thursday afternoon, I had had enough.  I tried to wrangle the kids into making a bird feeder out of a milk carton.  They were excited enough about the project at first, but squabbling and fighting soon took over, as it often does when people are stuck around each other too much.  I looked out the window at our driveway and sighed at how enormous the puddle in the middle was growing.  I am not by nature a “sighing” kind of person.  I tend to see the bright side of things, and this gloom and doom had to go.  I put on my excited face and announced that we were all changing into our swim gear and going outside to play in the rain. The kids shrieked with joy and fully embraced the experience.  It was cold!  They probably only lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes out there before I ushered them back in for warm baths and hot cocoa.  Those brief moments playing in the deep muddy puddle in the middle of our driveway completely changed our outlook for the rest of the day.

Sometimes it’s all in how you look at the puddles.

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Weeks Three and Four of our Juice Cleanse

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It’s time for an update on the whole juice cleanse thing.  You can read about why we decided to do a juice cleanse here, how the first week went here, and how we changed it all up the second week here.

 

Week Three was supposed to be the week that I added some moderate exercise back in.  I was excited to implement this change as I have always enjoyed exercising.  I like the surge of endorphins that comes after a good cardio workout.  Also, I hoped that exercise would help kick the weight loss back up into turbo mode.  We planned to continue the juicing throughout the morning and afternoon as we had the previous week.  Monday morning, I searched frantically for appropriate workout clothing and decided to start off the week with a Wii Fit workout.  The batteries in the Wii Fit board were dead;  I spent another fifteen minutes hunting down fresh batteries and replacing the old ones in the board.  Where was the Wii Fit disc?  I couldn’t find it anywhere – this could be perhaps to my not-so-awesome organizational skills – and was about to give up on the whole idea when I discovered the Gold’s Gym for Wii disc.  Oh yeah, I dimly remembered.  This is pretty fast-paced and involves a lot of boxing.  I put the disc in and got to work.

 

Yeah, so maybe working out was not as fun as I remembered.  My muscles cried out after months of not being used.  Still, I persevered through the first set of roundhouses and uppercuts.  After all, my children were watching me.  All of them.  And they were screeching with excitement, saying such encouraging things as, “Why don’t you go faster, Momma?” and “I don’t think you’re doing it like the lady on the tv!”  Halfway through the second set, as I bobbed and ducked punches, I felt a sudden, oh-this-is-not-good pain shoot through my lower back.  I grimaced and fell to my knees.  “What’s wrong, Momma?”  Gabi asked, genuinely concerned.  “Is the exercise too hard for you?”  I reassured her that I was fine, when indeed I was not.  I struggled to my feet, and like the stubborn idiot I am, I somehow finished the rest of the workout.  Including reverse crunches.  I know!

 

I turned off the disc and tried to walk to the kitchen to refill my water bottle.  At every step, jarring pain in my lower back took my breath away.  I couldn’t stand up straight and could barely move without intense pain.  I texted my husband of my plight, and thankfully he was able to leave work early and come home.  He has a history of back pain and knew what to do.  He set me up in our bedroom with a strange assortment of pillows shoved under my knees and a icy cold pack on my back.  It was me, my Ipad, and  my woefully boring-looking bedroom for the next day and a half.  Chris took care of the kids while working from home while I muttered things like “It figures.  As soon as I start something good like exercising, something comes in to screw it up.”

 

I wish I could say that I was really good with the juicing and eating during this time.  Nope, not really.  I did have some juice but mostly I snacked on little things all day.  They were mostly good things – veggies, fruits, whole-grain chips, etc. – but a bowl or two of ice cream may have sneaked in there.  And when I finally convinced Chris he could go back to work (who seriously could get any work done at home with four unusually energetic children racing around?!), I knew that it would be a few more days before I could attempt to exercise again.  So much for beginning exercise that week!

 

The next week, I was determined to try again.  This time, I set my alarm clock for 6:00 am in preparation to go for a good brisk walk in the morning.  Without kids.  That part is important, obviously, because kids always throw wrenches into your plans for having a great, unobserved workout.  Monday morning, I was up with the birds and walking around my new neighborhood, which I discovered has NO sidewalks.  None.  It’s also apparently very busy early in the morning; so I spent that walk mostly dodging oncoming cars and pretending I didn’t care when passing vehicles splashed up muddy water on me.  I researched and found out that there was a little nature trail at the library not far from me.  That trail became my go-to path for the next two days.  Life was awesome.  Then I was reminded that I live in the land of liquid sunshine for the rest of the week.  It poured down cold rain for five days straight.  I don’t mind walking in rain – it’s kind of a requirement around here – but this was the stuff that made me wish for windshield wipers on my glasses and about six more layers of warm clothes.

 

Chris came through by running to Game Stop and purchasing EA Sports Active for the Wii.  I spent the remainder of the week trying out this new (to me anyway) game instead of freezing on my walks outside.  I liked that it was customizable, that the workouts changed daily, and that it hurt.  And I must have been doing all right, since the scales at the end of the fourth week indicated that I was down another three pounds.

 

This coming week, barring all ridiculous injuries or intense rain scenarios, I plan on doing my walks in the early morning and then doing the EA Sports Active later in the day.  Because I am upping my exercise time, I don’t think it’s wise to just have juice throughout the morning in afternoon.  I’m going to continue to start off my days with green juice and then have one more veggie juice later in the day.  In between, I plan on eating some good protein (think oatmeal with peanut butter) and some healthy fats as well. (like avocados)  I guess with these changes, I should probably not refer to it as a juice cleanse anymore.

 

Oh and I have one more goal this week.  I need to get more sleep! I am a terrible night owl, and it is affecting me getting up early to go walking.  My plan is to be in bed by 10:30 or 11:00 pm at the latest.  This will require great fortitude and strength of will.  It will also require me to finish this post, now!  I need to go to bed.

 

In This House

DSC_0060The dining room is the central hub of our family activities.  At any given moment, you will find us homeschooling there, or finishing up yet another art project, or eating together, or folding laundry, or building Star Wars lego sets, or a host of other activities.  We are fortunate to have a very open floor plan, with the dining room opening up to the kitchen, the living room, and the playroom.  Since we spend so much of our time there, I chose the dining room as the place to put up our family “rules.”  I painted a canvas gray and added the meaningful words in my favorite colors, yellow and turquoise.  It looks fantastic on the wall next to the big picture window.  But there’s no point in having it just look pretty.  I wanted my children to understand the words on it and use it as inspiration to be a better family together.  So,my little chicks, let me tell you how we do things “in this house.”

1.  We do second chances.  

So, you didn’t get your math lesson the first time around.  Maybe you forgot and left your dish in the living room instead of carrying it to the sink.  Maybe you dropped your shoes right where Daddy could trip on them on his way out the door to work.  It’s okay.  We do second chances, and third chances, and as many chances as you need to get it right.  The times you don’t get it right are learning experiences for you.

2.  We do grace.  

This one is easy to say and hard to execute.  Grace is undeserved kindness.  God showed us the ultimate, purest grace of all by giving us a way out when all we had done was sin and disobey Him.  We are to be Christ-like – therefore, that means showing grace to others.  Is your brother being especially annoying today?  Be kind and courteous to him anyway.  Did you neglect to do your chores?  Mommy will not yell or be unkind.  She may even give you a second chance.  (see #1)

3.  We do real.

Having the joy of Christ in our hearts does not mean we will be happy all the time. Bad days are bound to happen.  In this house, we can be real about how we feel.  We don’t need to hide behind a mask and pretend everything is okay.  And when family members let their guard down and are real with us, we show compassion and understanding and seek to help them however we can.

4.  We do mistakes.

Nobody in this house is perfect.  We all make mistakes from time to time.  If you make a mistake, own up to it.  We understand and respect the fact that you are human and will make mistakes.  It also makes it easier for us to clear things up and make things right again.  Sometimes, mistakes are beautiful.  They teach us to be humble and to learn from failure.

5.  We do “I’m sorry.”

If we have wronged or hurt anyone in this family in any way, we apologize.  Even if we didn’t mean to offend, we recognize that feelings can be hurt.  So we say “I’m sorry.”  We say it a lot, including Mommy and Daddy.  It is a mark of good character to admit you did wrong and show your contrition.  And in this family, “I’m sorry” is always accompanied by a hug.  Always.

6.  We do loud really well.

We love to play, sing, dance, and generally cause a great ruckus in the house.  This is usually a wonderful thing – after all, God instructs us in His Word to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”  I love hearing your fun, most of the time.  It reminds me that we are not boring or dull and that we are enjoying the life God has given us.  However, there are two times when you need to hit the mute button – when Hosanna is taking a nap and when Mommy is holding her head and looking like she is about to punch something.  It is called a headache, and for your well-being, you should probably keep it down to a dull roar.

7.  We do hugs.

All the time.  I demand them from you all on a regular basis and dish them out as often as I receive them.  In case you were secretly hoping they would go away, they will not.  Whether you are eight, eighteen, or twenty-eight, you will give your mother a genuine, “I-love-you-lots” hug.  At any rate, she surely will be hugging you.  And don’t forget your siblings!  Hugs all around!

8.  We do family.

There are lots of exciting things to do and places to go and friends to hang out with in this world, but family always comes first.  We will always be your best friends, your biggest cheerleaders, and your shoulder to cry on.  That’s why when anything comes between you and your brother, or you and Mommy, or any other relationship in this house, we deal with it right away.  We take care of it because those are the most valuable relationships (outside of Jesus Christ) that we have.

9.  We do love.

And that is the cord that ties us all together.  For better or for worse, we are all in this together because of love.  When God gifted me with each one of you children, my heart was filled to bursting.  I was in awe at the love I felt and still feel for each of you.  If you ever find yourself unsure of how much I love you, come ask and I will be more than happy to tell you and show you!  And sometimes, we may not be very good at communicating our love for you.  Love is kind and patient, and sometimes we forget to show it that way.  If that happens (and it will, trust me, see #4), please let me know so I can rectify that.  I always want all of you children to feel loved.  Oh, and Daddy too – I’m crazy in love with him!

 

This sign is to remind of us of all these things – things that are important to us but can easily get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  But, little chicks, remember this.  None of these are possible without prayer.  We have got to connect with our Heavenly Father daily and seek His help in these areas.  And when we do that, well, this house is going to be home to one happy family!

 

Fluff Books: Learning to Love to Read

classic-books

 

When I was studying to be a teacher several years ago, I took a class called “Children’s Literature.”  It really was one of the most delightful (and easy!) classes I took during my college time since I love reading and especially enjoy well-written and beautifully-illustrated children’s books.  I wrote a paper extolling the pleasure and value of reading children’s classics such as The Secret Garden and The Jungle Book.  One day, the teacher started a discussion about “fluff” books versus classic, well-written literature for kids.  She posed the question – Is there any place in a child’s library for Nancy Drew books or other ‘fluff’ literature?”  An animated debate followed.  Some felt that children should not be exposed to that kind of book at all.  I recall one girl declaring that it was “brain candy,” which would ruin children’s taste for “real” literature, and some day when she was a mother, her children would never waste their time on those!  Some had the opinion that an occasional “fluff” book might be okay, but the parents and teacher should heavily moderate what choices the child made.  And a few, myself included, voiced the idea that maybe they weren’t so bad.  If they were getting kids to read, why not?  

 

I vividly remember being turned on to books when I was young by my mother.  She took us to the library every week, and we were allowed to check out as many books as we wanted.  We kept them in a large crate in the living room, and everyone traded and enjoyed each other’s choices as well.  I’m not sure exactly when my mother pointed out the long shelf full of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and encouraged me to try one.  I was probably in third grade, and once I finished The Secret of the Old Clock, I was hooked.  I got up early in the morning to read them before school and rushed through my homework in the afternoon so I could get back to my book.  I devoured them like candy, and, as long as my homework and chores were getting done (and I wasn’t totally ignoring my family), my mother allowed me to continue.  At some point, I tired of the series.  Maybe I was beginning to realize that the plot in each book was amazingly similar, or maybe I had just had too much “candy.”  Either way, I was ready then for meatier books, and I eagerly delved into Anne of Green Gables and Little Women.  I had learned to love reading, and that love continues to this day.

 

Now, as a homeschooling mother, my opinions have not changed much from my college days.  I do allow my kids to read “fluff” books, and I even read the books to them sometimes.  Gabi is currently into the Cam Jansen series (which I also read when I was young.)  Of course, she also loves reading books about the human body, insects, and mushrooms.  David’s “fluff” reads are Star Wars readers.   Mikey often chooses books about his favorite characters.  Here’s why I think “fluff” books are actually a very important part of a child’s literary diet.

 

1.  They inspire a love for reading.  

I already mentioned that the Nancy Drew books caused me to love reading.  My son David used to get very agitated whenever I mentioned reading time, but ever since we discovered the Star Wars readers, he has been asking for reading time every day.  Sometimes, we skip the Star Wars books and choose something else from the shelf.  Surprisingly, he doesn’t mind and looks forward to it.

 

2.  They broaden a child’s vocabulary.

They may not be the most well-written books, but I have found that they usually contain a great variety of new vocabulary for the children to learn.  Just the other day, Gabi and I had a good discussion about the word dilemma.  She had read it in her Cam Jansen book and was curious about it.  David is obsessed with big words, and thankfully the Star Wars readers are full of them.  It amuses me to hear him using the words in context as he plays with his Star Wars toys.

 

3.  They can be tools in building character and good values.  

They may not be written for that purpose, but “fluff” books can absolutely be a jumping-off point to learning good morals and behavior.  Nancy Drew was a good role model in that she was goal-driven, humble, and respectful to her authorities.  When reading Cam Jansen books with Gabi, we can discuss whether the character said or did something appropriate to the situation.  The Star Wars readers are naturally inclined to teach character.  The whole premise of Star Wars is good versus evil and the consequences of choosing each side.  Yesterday, we read the story of Boba Fett, who was consumed with getting revenge for his father’s death.  He loved his father very much, which was good; but he handled the situation by choosing evil.  He ended up being responsible for the death of many innocent cadets as well as associating with some people of very questionable morals.  Seeing the pain and heartache at the end of the story showed my David plainly that choosing to do wrong has very undesirable consequences.

 

4.  They build critical thinking skills.

Many “fluff” reads tend to be mystery novels or fast-action, high-intensity books.  Readers learn to try to think ahead – what will happen next?  What happens if the character opens that door?  Were there any hidden clues on this page that might help me know the ending of the book?  These are valuable skills for evaluating everything they read later in life.

 

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe that “fluff” reading should be “anything goes.”  Just because your child wants to read a book about witches doesn’t mean you need to allow it.  Use discretion when choosing enjoyment reading.  I personally read each book before I let my children have them.  It’s extra work for me, but it’s worth it to not be surprised by an inappropriate or “too-adult” theme.  And although our library book box is full of Star Wars  readers and mysteries, there are also some great classic books in there.  They can’t survive on “candy” alone; and it’s my job to point them to good reading for their minds and souls.

 

What do you think?  Did you do a lot of “fluff” reading in your childhood?  Has it helped or hurt your desire for reading now?

Our Three Year Journey on the Spectrum

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When our son David was diagnosed with autism shortly after he turned three, I initially experienced a giant sense of relief.  Now we had a name for it.  Now I could understand it better – understand him better, really – and now we could have some plan of action for his life. A month or so passed before I realized I was experiencing a different response to the diagnosis.  This time it was grief, and I was startled by the suddenness and the severity of it.  I grieved for the things he would never be able to do.  I sorrowed over the fact that he and I may never have “normal conversations.” I wondered what the future really had in store for him, and ultimately I agonized over the fact that I felt like I was being a big drama queen.

 

That first year was a whirlwind of physical therapy, speech therapy, special ed. preschool, and the beginning of melatonin administered nightly (otherwise known as sleep for two very exhausted parents of an insomniac).  I was grateful for all the help, especially the therapy, as long as we were able to get it.  Still, part of me often wondered that first year if he really needed all that therapy and help.  There were some days when he didn’t seem “autistic” at all, and when he was with his peer group, he seemed to manage pretty well.  He may have been off to the side playing by himself, but it didn’t seem all that abnormal.  After all, he was THREE, I reasoned, and of course three -year-olds are going to be stubborn and crazy and a little odd sometimes.  Then, every once in a while, we would have one of those days that reminded me all too painfully that yes indeed, David was and will always be autistic.

 

Now he is six.  He is a little kid shoved into a big body.  He towers over his little brother, who is just a year younger than him.  I have seen recent glimpses that foretell that his little brother will be surpassing him in many areas soon.  His older sister is light years ahead of him both in common sense and in academics.  He is starting to realize that he is not quite sure where he fits in.

 

The thing is, for the most part, David is completely unaware of people.  He doesn’t interact with others (besides his siblings) very much and has a hard time grasping why we wouldn’t do things his way.  This behavior was completely acceptable to his classmates when he was three.  Three-year-olds could care less about proper social interactions and manners.  Now, however, the difference between him and his peers is ever widening.  Every day, I am looking for ways to help him bridge that gap or at the very least learn some methods to get by.

 

I am so used to his mannerisms and quirks that sometimes I still forget about his autism.  I know God knew exactly what He was doing when He blessed our lives with David.  And, oh, the stories we can tell of our experiences with him!  Just yesterday, we went out to dinner.  David insisted on using the restroom all by himself, but past episodes have proven that he cannot be trusted to go in alone.  So Chris went in with him.  A few minutes later, they emerged, and Chris looked as if he were going to burst in laughter at any second.  “What happened?”  I asked.  He smirked.  “Well, that was embarrassing,” he said.  “Of course, David walked right up to the urinal next a man and started talking to him and asking him wildly inappropriate questions.  And you know how he does it in that monotone voice.  He was completely serious, and I’m pretty sure that guy had no idea what to say.  When David asked him if he had ever pooped watermelon seeds, I knew it was time to get out of there!”

 

Ha!  Our little man, who really has little sense of humor, has a gift for making us laugh just when we think we’ve been stretched to our breaking point.  I can’t imagine life without him, and I certainly can’t imagine life without autism.  The journey we have traveled together so far these three years has been nothing short of miraculous, breath-taking, and amazing.  Now, when we hit teenage years, I may have a few other adjectives to describe this path we are on. . .

 

Week Two of Our Juice Cleanse

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(To read about why my husband and I started a juice cleanse, click here.  To find out how our first week went, click here.)

 

We finished off our first week of drinking only fresh vegetable/fruit juice and water, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I felt great!  I had lost weight and gained a ton of energy.  At the end of that first week, Chris and I sat down to evaluate how everything had gone so far and if we wanted to continue.  Inspired by my success so far, I wanted to keep going.  Chris had a different idea.  He was bothered by the fact that we all sat down at the dinner table, us parents with our juices and the kids with their meats and veggies.  He felt like it wasn’t very easy to encourage the kids to eat their vegetables when we weren’t doing the same.  I agreed – it just wasn’t the same time of bonding and family fellowship when we didn’t eat with the kids.  After a lot of discussion, we decided to continue the juice cleanse for the mornings and afternoons and then eat a meal of lean proteins and veggies for dinner with the family.

 

So that’s what we did.  The first evening, we had grilled chicken and salad, and that night, I had a lot of stomach cramps. Chis felt fine, but apparently my body needed a little more time to adjust to this change.  We continued with our new plan, and I was pleased to discover that I still had a high amount of energy as well.  I had such a craving for chocolate cake one evening that I gave in and made a previous favorite of ours, Two-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake.  I split the recipe between us, and although it briefly satisfied the taste buds, it didn’t have the desired effect.  I was also getting a little tired of the juicing process by this point.  I liked drinking the juice, but I wasn’t as fond of all the washing, peeling, and chopping of the veggies and fruits and especially the cleaning of the juicer.  It also was a big time suck – I found myself getting up earlier to get enough juices ready for Chris to take to work with him.  (And of course, this process was constantly interrupted by kids clamoring for breakfast and diaper changes and use of the tv remote).  I decided that for my own sanity and for continued momentum in this process, I would make juices the night before.  I know that fresh juice is best straight out of the juicer and that the longer it sits, the more nutrients it loses.  But I did my best to preserve the nutrients by adding a little lemon to each juice and by filling my mason jars completely to the top before sealing the lids tightly and putting them in the fridge.

 

I learned a few new things this second week of juicing.  First, I realized that my thought process has been much clearer since we started the juice cleanse.  I can focus on a project to completion (the housework rejoices!), and my creativity has greatly increased.  Secondly, I learned that I need to figure out how to listen to my body better.  That night that I wanted chocolate cake so badly, my body was really telling me that it was thirsty.  Plain and simple.  The next time I wanted something sugary  and sweet, I drank a glass of water and found that my body was satiated.  We also discovered that listening to our bodies meant not always sticking entirely to the “rules.”  One morning, I felt the need for something with more staying power than just juice.  A handful of almonds did the trick.  Chris had a day at work when he was having a lot of trouble focusing and getting anything done.  A small turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread made all the difference.

 

By the end of the second week of juicing, I had lost just one pound.  My body hit a bit of a plateau in the weight loss department, although I noticed that my jeans were still getting looser. 🙂  Energy levels and patience levels (what?!) were high.  Encouraged by these results, we made a commitment to continue juicing during the day and eating healthy, balanced meals in the evening.  I determined also that this next week would be the week that I would start doing some moderate, intentional exercise.

 

And next week, I’ll share how that week went.  (Hint – somebody ended up flat on their back in bed for two days and the kids ended up watching a LOT of tv.)  For now, I’ll leave you with another favorite juice recipe.

 

Red Sparkler Juice

1 medium red beet, washed well

4 carrots

2 oranges, peeled

1 bunch of cilantro

 

Seasoned with Grace

seasoning verse

Tonight I decided to make Southwest Turkey Meatball skillet (a fabulous recipe from Clean Eating) for dinner.  I pulled out the ground turkey from the freezer and turned around, bumping into a very determined David.  “Mom, how old do you have to be to drive a jet pack?”  I sighed, thinking of the one thousand times before he had asked this exact question.  “David, we’ve talked about this before, and now is not the time to bother Mommy,” I said firmly.  “I’ve got to get dinner ready before Daddy gets home.”  He shrugged his shoulders and moved, ever so slightly to the left.  “So, Mom,” he continued as if I had not said anything at all.  “Probably when I’m sixteen I’ll be able to have a jet pack.  How long until I get to be sixteen?”  Growing a little more impatient now, I said something to the effect of “not for a long, long time.”  His face fell.  “Go on now, get out of the kitchen,” I shooed him towards the living room.  “I’m making meatballs right now.” He looked a little crestfallen, but ever the persistent one, he moved exactly one inch outside the kitchen and kept asking questions.  Did jet packs go very fast?  Did I think that Daddy would build one for him?  What about Jango Fett?  Where did he get his jet pack?  Did Daddy ever use a jet pack to get to work?  Finally, I was thoroughly exasperated.  “David, I said this is not the time to bother Mommy!  Please get out of the kitchen and go play with something!  Right now!”  And although I said the word please, my tone spoke otherwise.  His shoulders slumped, and he walked slowly down the hall to his room.  I could hear him in his room, banging a few legos around.  Meanwhile, I had a recipe to make.  I carefully seasoned my turkey meatballs with a little salt and just a touch of cumin, so Gabi would not complain that they were too spicy.  I stirred the broth and added a little more cumin, some paprika, and lime juice.  All these seasonings were going to transport our tastebuds to the Mexican border.  As a final touch, just as my husband walked in the door, I chopped up some fresh cilantro and mixed it in.  I took a sneak taste, verifying that it was indeed seasoned to perfection.

As we sat to eat, conversation flowed easily around the dinner table.  Gabi had reached a new level in her Eyepet video game.  Mikey was excited that Mommy had made them hot chocolate as a mid-afternoon snack.  David was silent for a while.  He finally spoke up and stated, “Daddy, I’m not going to talk about jet packs, know why?  ‘Cuz that makes Mom mad.”  He dragged out the word mad as if it were terribly difficult to say.  I looked at him, startled, and then a red flush crept up my face as I remembered the harsh way I had spoken to him only moments earlier.  I quickly apologized, told him that I was not mad at him, and encouraged him to talk about his jet pack obsession.  He was only too happy to oblige.  Chris fielded most of the questions; so I was left to my thoughts. . . and my guilt.  A Bible verse that I make the kids say every time they speak unkindly to each other came to mind.  “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6 NIV)   I noted a stray sprig of cilantro on the side of my bowl and thought how that little seasoning made the dish taste amazing.  I had not seasoned my words when I spoke to my son.  If anything, I had sprinkled them with way too much black pepper so the whole thing jarred the tastebuds of the receiver.

I typed out that verse in the notepad on my phone.  I pray God will bring it to memory the next time I am tempted to speak without grace, to reprimand without love, to lecture without kindness.  May my words, especially to the ones I love the most, be seasoned with grace and compassion.