One thing that is vital to motherhood is living in God’s grace. Mistakes we make as a parent directly affect our children. Ever cringed as your child repeats something you said? My Caleb picks up every -ism he hears. The other day he said in response to a shiny red car, “Dad, that’s sick!” (By the way – if something is sick, it’s actually awesome). He’s maybe heard that once in his life. That’s cute, but when I see my kids picking up the bad, it feels horrible. I work so hard to protect them, and yet it’s inevitable that they will pick up my sinful habits.
Praise God there is redeeming grace (and therapy) available to my children. My mistakes are not etched in stone. Rather they are able to be molded to bring God’s glory forth. The hurts I cause in my children can be used by their Creator to draw them closer to Him. Now that’s grace to live in.
In Isaiah 40:11 it says “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart, He gently leads those that have young.” Oh, that’s grace to bask in as a young mom. He gently leads me, as in He leads me differently because I have young children. I need His grace and tenderness to surround me. Some evenings after the house grows quiet and dark, I remember things that I did or said that I regret. I feel frustrated that I got angry with Caleb, or that I was too hard on Isabelle. Soon my day is peppered with all my failings. I feel defeated and inadequate. It’s then when I need to receive the grace extended to me. It’s available to me anytime, but I must embrace it for it to run through my veins. We named our new baby Lydia Grace. I pray that she lives in the grace she’s named for.
Every week grace comes in the form of a popcorn/smoothie night. That’s right, no cooking for this mama. Whip out the Whirley Pop and freestyle a yummy fruit smoothie. Complete it with a movie and we’ve got instant meal, happy kids and easy clean up. And may I repeat that we do this EVERY week! I got the idea from my lovely friend who did it every Friday night. Her kids expected it and loved it.
For the smoothies I buy a big package of frozen fruit (strawberry, peach, mango, pineapple) and a smaller bag of frozen blueberries or raspberries. We almost always have have bananas, milk and yogurt on hand. You could probably sneak something else in there to get some added nutrients . . . 1 cup spinach, flax seed, wheat germ or fresh-grated ginger. Just don’t tell anyone you did it!
For the popcorn we have a stove-top popper called the Whirley Pop. Love it! Found it at a garage sale for a few bucks, but I have seen them at most stores for around $15. Two tablespoons of oil and 1/2 cup of kernels and whirl away! I even get my kids to do the “work” of making popcorn my letting them turn the handle as it heats and pops. I add an ample sprinkling of salt to the finished product. My nephew Ethan remarked that my popcorn “tastes like there’s nothing on it.” His solution was adding butter! So if you’re not a fan of stove-top popcorn, buy microwave popcorn. Oh the buttery goodness of microwave popcorn! And even less mess!
Tara’s Freestyle Smoothie
(once you’ve created your own, insert your name!)
2 handfuls mixed frozen fruit
1 small handful frozen raspberries or blueberries
1 small container yogurt (stick to a complementary flavor such as strawberry or peach)
(sneaky health food option – see above)
Place the frozen fruit in blender. Peel banana, break in half and throw in. Dump the yogurt in. Pour milk in – start off with around 3/4 cup. Or two big glugs. Sneak the health food in, too. Blend and boogie. Add more milk if you like it smoother.
Using the words of one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, “How easy is that?” So mommy, give yourself a grace night and don’t make a meal. Work yourself out of a job, too. Maybe one of your older kids could learn to make the smoothies and another one is the official popcorn maker. Then you could just sit back and receive the grace of a popcorn/smoothie night. Bon appetit dear one.