Don’t Forget To Add Love

I have a confession. My husband makes better chocolate chip cookies than I do. “It’s the dough,” he tells me. My cookie dough is always over worked, and my cookies are flat as pancakes. “You shouldn’t use that “thing,” he says. By that “thing,” he means my Kitchen Aid mixer. He calls it the “machine.” And gives me a look when I turn it on.

He turns it off.

“Cookies need love,” he tells me. “You need to get your hands in the dough.” He takes the metal bowl from the mixer, and takes an old-school wooden spoon and mixes the dough. “It’s too hard for me to mix that way,” I tell him. He looks up with his green eyes, sets the spoon down, puts his bare hands into the dough to make sure it’s mixed well. But not over worked.

He pops some into his mouth, “Perfect,” he says with a smile.

I sit at the counter and watch, like a student.

“See Bekah,” he says, “You need to add love,” he tells me. I push my Pampered Chef cookie dough scooper across the counter towards him. He purposefully ignores it. Instead, he takes two metal spoons from the drawer. “Why don’t you just use my scooper?” I ask. He gives me a look, shakes his head. Continues gently scooping with his two metal spoons. Until each one is carefully set on the tray.

And somehow, eight minutes later…his cookies turn out perfect. Every time.

“It’s because I add love,” he tells me. I can’t help but laugh. “Okay,” I say.

But I’ve been thinking about my husband’s cookies lately. I think about them when I’m making chili, adding in the spices, or cutting the tops off the strawberries. I think about them when I’m making the cookie dough. I hear his tender voice in my mind, “Don’t forget to add love.”

So, I do. I shut off the “machine” mode my mind automatically kicks into. And I add love. It’s those moments I stir just a little softer. I put my hands in the dough. I remember who I’m cutting the strawberries for. My daughter who squeals with delight like it’s Christmas morning when I hand her a bowl of them. My husband who will enjoy this dinner tonight, and needs a wife who will laugh across the table from him–and not frown, because she’s so busy doing all the “things.” And I think of my own mama body, that needs this food, these nutrients–to make milk for my baby boy, and energy, to care for this family, and myself–with joy.  And to do these things, finding pleasure in them. Because there is this secret, hidden pleasure you feel…when you add love.

And there’s a lump in my throat. Because I know he’s right.

You need to add love. It makes it taste better. 

It’s so easy to do it. To get caught in the routine, in the machine.

And sometimes you just get lost in it. The hustle. Like the dough whirling around in the Kitchen Aid mixer, beating hard against it’s metal sides. Because there’s always meals to plan, and food to buy, and cook, and clean off plates, and clothes, that need washed. Going round and round and round–in the machine. Like a carousel you can’t jump off of.

And sometimes you need a strong hand to reach over, and shut the machine off. And remind you to set all your gadgets down. And stick your bare hands in the dough. And…

Remember to add love. 

When you are cutting up the apples, and cheese, and turkey for lunch,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are cooking dinner, and stirring the sauce, adding the spices,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are filling the washer with dirty clothes, and pouring in the detergent and softener,

 don’t forget to add love. 

It’s the smallest thing, and yet the biggest thing. It is the most subtle and the most powerful thing you can do. And it somehow changes the world–their world, and yours.

And maybe that’s why God reminded us to “love” in 1 Corinthians 13…because He knew we’d forget. And He said…it’s not about how “spiritual” you are, it’s not about how much you can “accomplish,” or “do,” it’s not even about how much of your “self” you can give away–to your home, to your kids, or to other people. It’s about doing it with love.

“Love is patient and kind…it is not irritable or resentful…Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s a small thing. But it’s the biggest thing.

The smile, the gentle touch, the laugh at their joke.

The way you stroke their hair.

They won’t ask for it,

But they will taste it when it’s there.

And so will you.

So roll your sleeves up, mama. Stick your bare hands in the dough. Let the flour fly like confetti. Sweep it up with a smile. Because this is your life, and theirs.

And it all tastes so much better when you,

remember to add love.

Why Dishes Are Still In My Sink

I didn’t finish my dishes tonight. I love when they are finished. Because I can come down to clean kitchen the next morning, brew my coffee and start the day fresh.

But I didn’t finish them tonight. Half are still soaking in the sink. With food stuck to the plates. And BBQ sauce sticking to my crockpot.

Tomorrow I will go downstairs to a messy kitchen. I will have to stick my hand in the cold water and unplug the drain. (Something I hate doing.) And I will have to start my day doing the dishes I didn’t do tonight.

But do you know what I DID do tonight?

I popped popcorn on the stove with my daughter Selah, who is 4-years-old. Because she wanted to have a “fun” night. All week she kept saying she wanted to have a “fun” night where we popped popcorn and watched a movie and danced to music.

So I decided tonight was going to be the “fun” night.

And it really was.

She stood on the counter as the popcorn popped on the stove. And she laughed hysterically, the whole time, at every single kernel as it popped. It wasn’t really that funny, but it was “fun” night, so I joined her in forced laughter for five straight minutes.

We started the movie, “Because Of Win-Dixie,” and sat together on the floor holding our big bowl of popcorn.

And she fed me.

Every couple handfuls of popcorn that went into her mouth, she would pick up a piece and put it carefully to my mouth. But there was so much love in her eyes.

I obliged.

After all, it was the “fun” night.

So, we took turns feeding each other. The movie played on and there we were looking like two newlyweds at their wedding reception, but instead of feeding each other cake, it was popcorn. And we couldn’t stop laughing.

And she put her arm around me. And I didn’t want to leave her side.

The dishes were calling me.

But tonight, I just stayed. I just sat by her side, and watched the movie all the way through.

She put princess stickers on my shirt. Carefully, one by one.

And…

She told me she loved me.

And it felt good. To just fully give myself to her.

For once.

To breathe in her sweet scent. .

I remember the first time I smelled her. The snowy night she was born, when they laid her slippery little body on my chest. And I wrapped my frail, shaky arms around her. And all at once, I loved her. All of me, loved all of her.

And an avalanche happened in my heart.

Of love.

Baby girl. 

Come back. 

She’s not a baby anymore. She’s four.

But on nights like this. When we’re wrapped in eachother’s arms. She is mine, and I am hers.

And there’s nothing more sacred, more holy, then these moments with her. Getting low and laying on the carpet.

Feeding each other popcorn.

And laughing at all the funny parts.

Because it’s “fun” night.

And I love her.

And by some miracle, she loves me.

With a love more tender, and kind, and gentle, than I am worthy of.

With stickers.

And popcorn.

And her tiny arm tightly around me.

Because tonight, there was this moment when I looked over at her laughing, and I was laughing, and just for a moment she felt more like sister, than my daughter. Like my friend.

And I’m going to remember this, tomorrow morning. When I wake up and go downstairs. And stick my hand in the cold water and unplug the kitchen sink. Because I’ll be wondering why I didn’t choose the dishes.

 

And I know, moms, we can’t spend ALL our days playing with our kids. Our houses would eventually collapse in a pile of rubble.

But let’s be honest, how much time do we actually spend playing with our kids?

(Without our phone handy, so we can space out on Facebook…which is what I usually do.)

I don’t play with my daughter enough.

Tonight, though, for a change, I just needed to “clock-out” from being Susie Homemaker. Because there are always dishes in the sink. There’s always one more thing to do.

And it’s always something important.

(To me.)

 

But she’s important, too. And it’s more important to her, that I lay on the floor, and let her feed me popcorn, and cover my shirt with stickers.

Tomorrow, I’m going to trip over the pillows on the living room floor.

And I’ll be sure to find some stray popcorn kernals on the stove.

And yes, I’ll reach into that nasty cold sink water.

But she’s the reason my dishes are still in the sink. 

My daughter.

My sister. 

My friend. 

Kayla’s Testimony

My husband and I got married in August 2004. We turned our lives over to God in August 2006. After that we decided it was time to start a family.

After 6 months of trying to conceive, I was pregnant! We were over the moon excited. However, I sadly had a miscarriage at about 7 weeks. I was devastated. I didn’t understand why or how God would let this happen?

We went on to try several more months, then months turned to a year and I decided it was time to be checked by a doctor. My doctor suggested blood work–to which everything came back normal. We tried a few treatments, but nothing worked. We also did an exploratory surgery which showed everything was fine. We tried every treatment we could think of and spent lots of money in the process.

After several years of different doctors and procedures, we decided to take a break. My emotions couldn’t handle it anymore.

In the spring of 2010 we decided in the fall we would start treatments again and see where that took us. Well lo and behold God stepped in and on July 28th, 2010 we found out we were expecting again! And once again we were over the moon excited and in total shock since all the doctors had told us they were not sure what the problem was and we had spent thousands of dollars on treatments.

I successfully carried my beautiful 7lb 12oz baby boy who was born March 31, 2011. He is our miracle!

After he was born, I totally blocked out of my mind all we had went through. I thought, “Praise the Lord that part of our lives is over, and my body has healed itself.”  Well, little did I know, that was not going to be the case.

When our son turned 3, on March 31, 2014, we decided it was time to maybe try again. And just as quickly as they left–those feelings were back–and months passed, and months turned to a year.

I went to the doctor again, and we spent thousands again and no luck was to be found. In the fall of 2016, my doctor decided on a treatment course. We started it in August 2016 and finally in February 2017 is when I decided it was enough. I was blessed with one perfect boy and some people didn’t even have that, so I decided I would forever be thankful for him and cherish every single second I could and live the rest of our lives as a happy family of 3.

I decided to sell all of his baby items and just move on past that part of my life. Well, just a short month after that we had encountered a possible adoption. It didn’t work out but it did open our minds and hearts to adoption so we prayed about it and felt like we should at least check into it. So I researched and spoke with friends about different options and had my doctor give me some adoption agencies info and we filled out an adoption application! We knew it would be a long road and very expensive but we were ready. Then lo and behold God stepped in again… And on May 12, 2017 we found out God had did it again, and sent us a miracle. We were expecting.

Then at about 7 weeks the unthinkable happened…I had a miscarriage.

I don’t know what will be in store for us now. I have no idea where God will lead us–but I know I have to keep trusting him even when the path seems unsteady. Whether we adopt or have another baby, or if we are just to be the happy family of 3, I don’t know, but I have to keep the faith that whatever happens will be wonderful. I know that we have been blessed with the most amazing boy! Who will forever and always be our miracle straight from heaven.


Thank you Kayla for sharing your testimony with us–filled with both joys and sorrows. And isn’t that how life is? This ebb and flow of dark and light, but through it all He remains faithful. And we have to keep looking to Him. So, Kayla, we rejoice with you over your miracle, and grieve with you over your very recent loss. And pray comfort and healing over your womb and heart.

And dear ones, this is what this sisterhood is about. The joys and sorrows we bear, we bear together. And Jesus brings deeper healing as we share with one another.

I am so thankful for each one reading this blog. I know God has you here for a reason. And whether you have shared your story, or feel that you could never ever share the dark seasons you’ve been through–or are in–just know you are not alone.

If you do ever feel prompted to share your testimony here, please email me (Rebekah) at [email protected] ! To check out the writer’s guidelines see my page “Want To Share Your Testimony?”

Betsy’s Testimony: God’s Got It

 

As I write down my thoughts and dreams, my interactions of each day I can truly see myself as a whole person these days. But it wasn’t always this way …

I can look back into my “diary” and see the transaction from the last few years, last few months, mainly the last few weeks. Just recently I have become the person I had always led on to be.

The strong one. The one who is truly happy for you.

The one who is “OK” she is not carrying the child she has longed for, for years.

I find myself smiling at situations I once cried at.

I find myself dancing and singing in the front row at church.

I find myself carrying on more positive conversations with those who truly care.

I find myself when I look into the mirror – finally.

I once carried myself as a disappointment–rather a true daughter of the Lord. I was disappointing my husband–who wants to be a dad just as much as I want to be a mom.

Spending hours missing work to drive miles and miles because what that one doctor told me, I didn’t want to believe–and what the other doctor told me, I didn’t want to hear.

I thought maybe someone who didn’t know me from my past appointments would say something I hadn’t heard yet. But they all said the same, “We will just keep trying.” “Your next cycle will be different.” “ALL THINGS DOCTORS SAY.”

One day, I stopped listening to what those doctors were saying and listened to what my heart of hearts was saying.

It spoke so loud to me one day, and I knew what I had to do.

I had to cry and pray.

Pray and cry.

One day I woke up feeling not so sad, not so heavy hearted…I felt like me again. The person who I was before all this pressure of getting pregnant, providing my husband with a child, providing a grandchild to my parents.

I felt free.

Yes, there are some days that are easier than others. Yes, there will be days harder to come…but I know where to go on those days – and that makes it all the easier.

I prayed for comfort, for a solution, for something to change my life and the whole time it was inside right there inside of me.

This gift given to us from God, this gift to “The Grinders.”

The gift of peace.

The gift of peace that He has it.

God’s got it.


Thank you Betsy for sharing how God’s gift of peace is restoring life to your spirit and soul as you trust Him! God is surely able to saturate the thirsty soul with Himself, and He longs for each of us, whether we face infertility or some other struggle, to rest, to surrender, and to believe with all our heart: God’s got it. Because He does. 

If you have a testimony you would like to share here on Testimony Tuesdays at Barren to Beautiful, email me at [email protected] ! To check out the writer’s guidelines see my page, “Want To Share Your Testimony?”

I Love How God Made You

I was standing in my black bathrobe with sopping wet, just-showered hair hanging down my back, waiting for my coffee to finish brewing, when my 4-year-old daughter said out of no where, “Mom! You’re the cutest one in our family!”

She was gazing at me starry-eyed. Like I was a Disney princess. (And not a Disney villain like Cruella DeVille, which is really who I am sure I looked like.)

“What did you say?” I asked, unsure my un-caffeinated brain heard her right.

“I said, ‘Mom, you’re the CUTEST one in our family!!'” She said with even more passion this time.

And I laughed!

I couldn’t help but think about how ugly I have felt lately. How I turned 30 this year, and am still trying to love my post-partum body (that got stretched pretty good by my 9 pound, 11 ounce baby boy born in December.) And I thought about how I always wear make-up. To cover the dark circles under my eyes, and the acne that’s been there since high-school. And how I often don’t feel very beautiful at all. I’ve even been tempted lately to stop at the local tanning joint, “Sun Your Buns,” to tan this skin, I don’t always feel pretty in.

But before I could think through any more of my many insecurities, she interrupted:

“I love how God made you,” she said.

I love how God made you. 

I looked at her. Her big, blue eyes looking deeply into my brown ones. Her blonde bedhead spilling into her beautiful face. Her gaze, not leaving me.

“I love how God made you.”

Her words echoed. In my thirsty heart.

And, I knew she meant it. With all of her little heart.

Her heart that is often bigger than I realize. 

I bent down, all undone. In my bathrobe and wet, tangled hair and held her little body against mine.

“Thank you,” I whispered, with our foreheads touching.

“But,” I assured her, “I think YOU are the cutest one in our family!” Then I tickled her and she giggled. And I said, “I love how God made you!” She smiled and wrapped her little body around mine. And we stayed like that for a moment. Wrapped in love.

Wrapped by full acceptance. Wrapped with our beautiful bodies God gave us, around each other.

Both feeling a little more loved. A little more beautiful. Than before.

Do you want to know something?

Selah’s words stayed with me.

I felt “cuter-than-usual” that day.

Because when a 4-year-old boldly declares (when you have no make-up on and look like a drowned rat) that, “You are the cutest one in ourfamily!!”– you just have to choose to believe her.

And it ministers to the deeper parts of you. The ones you try to shove down. And cover up.

And maybe we are all a little more insecure than we like to admit.

Maybe we all feel a little “ugly” sometimes.

And maybe, sometimes, we just need someone, anyone, (even if they’re 4 years old) to say:

“Hey.”

“You’re cute.”

“You’re beautiful.”

“I love how God made you.”

Because beauty comes from Him. You know?

Beauty isn’t something we achieve by working out, or wearing trendy clothes, or dabbing on more make-up.

Beauty is part of our make-up.

It’s a part of us. It’s instilled in us. By the fingerprints of God. When He made us. When He formed us in the womb. In the secret place.

Beauty…is what God makes.

And He made you. Remember?

 

God created you exactly how He wanted you to be. 

For His glory. And He delights in you.

And you are made in His image. To reflect Him, and His beauty. 

And maybe no one will tell you today, but, I think…

You’re pretty cute.

And,

I love how God made you.


Now, it’s your turn to spread the beauty. So, pass it on. Stop and tell someone how cute they are. And, “I love how God made you.” And see if, (even if they laugh), if their face does not brighten a bit. And they don’t become a little more beautiful as a result.

#Spreadthebeauty