Never underestimate the power of unconditional love

childs-foot-995300_1920

Quite a few years ago, there was a particular little boy in one of my classes. 

He had a hard time staying on his chair. He was one of those kids that would be standing at his desk when the other twenty-five kids were sitting. 

He was the kid that didn’t cope when any new routine, new teacher, or new thing cropped up. 

He was the kid that had trouble making friends on the playground. Often interrupting games or having meltdowns. 

He was the only kid that ever told me to *insert that word* off, and he was the only kid that ever physically hurt me. 

Yet, he was that kid that had a huge place in my heart. I had this feeling about him, something just wasn’t right. 

So, the countless misdemeanours were always forgiven.  Boundaries were always maintained. Consequences for his behaviour always meted out.

I always knew how he felt because I asked him. I always knew how his weekend was because I asked him. 

I sought him out on the playground and encouraged him to try again with his peers. I made sure he knew I saw him at church. 

That year he moved on to the next class and I moved on to motherhood. 

I continued to seek him out at church and we would have brief catch-ups in the foyer as he whizzed passed me.

Then I moved away and I kept in touch with his mum over the years. Our paths would collide at the weirdest of places. Her son was always something we talked about. 

Well, that boy turned into a teenager and left school to pursue a trade. 

Only then was he diagnosed with Aspergers. 

It all made sense. My “Aspy” meter was already working way back then! 

Via facebook we reconnected for a while, but when it was getting hard to watch his self-destructive way of life, I severed those ties. 

But his mum and I continued to cross paths and her son was always someone we talked about.  And I continued to bring him before the Lord in prayer.

A few months ago, Rob and I received an invitation in the mail. It was to this young man’s wedding. 

The invitation hung with pride on the fridge along with all the other papers and invitations that are typical of a busy household. 

The day of his wedding finally arrived and we donned our glad rags! 

We had barely made it to the ceremony venue in the park when I was enveloped in a big hug by his older brother, who I had also taught. 

‘Thank you for being here’ he said to me, ‘it means a lot.’ 

Then I saw that big burly guy who had once been the little terror who had made my life so very interesting way back when. 

He scrubbed up alright. Looking dapper in his tux, he ran over to where we were standing and gave me a big hug.

‘Thank you for coming,  I didn’t know if you were coming.’

It dawned on me then, just how much it meant that we were there.  Apart from immediate family and two other family friends, we were the only two people who had known this young man in his childhood. 

He had singled me out from all those people who had been in his life. Why? 

I don’t know exactly, but I can guess. 

 

Don’t ever underestimate just how powerful it is to a child that you forgive their transgressions and move on. 

Don’t ever underestimate just how hard it is to be the one child who has no friends. 

Don’t ever underestimate just how hard is it to be a child who can’t sit still, no matter how much they try. 

Don’t ever underestimate just how much it means that you say hello to a child.

Never underestimate how much it means when you ask a child how they are, even if they have trouble putting their feelings into words. 

Never underestimate the power of paying attention to the parents who are also struggling to make sense of it all. 

Don’t underestimate the power of reaching out and making contact when these children are grown adults. 

Never underestimate the power of God in their lives. They may turn their backs on Him, but He will always be there when they call on Him in repentance.

Never underestimate the role you can play in a child’s life. Especially the ones that from the outside may appear to be the ‘unloveable.’

God makes no mistakes. He places you on paths with others, for a reason.  Maybe it’s a child in your life that you can make a big impact on? 

Eyes wide open and pray for opportunities to show the Love of Christ to one of the little ones! You can only do it with His strength, so pray for that daily! 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13 (passage recited by the groom’s dad at the wedding ceremony)

*permission from the family was given to share this story.

Image source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Granuesli

Easy Granuesli

It’s a mix between muesli and granola, hence ‘granuesli’.

Perfect as a quick breakfast or as a handy snack. Serve with your choice of milk, or yogurt and fresh fruit. My favourite combo at the moment is granuesli, fresh passionfruit and Greek yogurt. The best bit about making your own granuesli is that you can add whatever takes your fancy!

I’m always heavy handed on the brazil nuts and apricots, so I guess if I ever sold my mix it would be called ‘Tash’s Brazil Nut and Apricot Granuesli’! 

 

GATHER :

1 cup dried fruit : sultanas, prunes, dates, cranberries, blueberries, apricots

1 1/2 cup nuts : cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, brazil nuts

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup seeds/grains : buckwheat, linseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, millet

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

DO :

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Place all the dried fruit, nuts, oats, seeds & grains plus the maple syrup into a food processor or Thermomix

Pulse on highest speed for about 5 seconds. Repeat until you get the texture you like. (I like most of the mixture to be fairly well blitzed, but with a few whole nuts, seeds and grains. The mixture should be coated in the maple syrup.

Spread mixture onto a baking tray or dish. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir and then cook again for 10 minutes. You might like to throw it in the oven for a little more time, depending on how toasted you like your granuesli!

Wait until it is cold, then stir through your chia seeds and cinnamon. 

Store in an airtight container. 

What would your Granuesli be called? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my kitchen

Untitled 2

There is no place I’d rather be, then in my kitchen. Well, come to think of it, maybe a secluded beach, wine in one hand, book in the other?  

Getting back into the school routine this week means I needed to get back to menu planning and making sure that we aren’t eating at 9pm…. hmm.

Monday’s dinner was  Beef Tacos. Cook the beef with a chopped onion, add the seasoning, chop up your lettuce, cucumber, capsicum and tomatoes, open a can of corn, a container of sour cream, a jar of salsa, heat up the tortillas, grate some cheese and you are done! 

DSC_0840

Last night was Cypriot Lamb by Tessa Kiros. I have posted about this fab dish once before, you can find it here. It is a great one pot dish that you can get ready in the morning, store in the fridge and then put in the oven an hour before you need it ready! Last night I added sweet potato and a bag of spinach leaves as it was about to go on the table. This recipe is from Tessa’s book Falling Cloudberries. A must on any cookbook shelf!

Tonight is going to be something easy as it is Bible Study club for one kiddo, catechism for another and a meeting for me. Just a normal Wednesday night for us! Chicken schnitzel and coleslaw is the plan.  This is ‘Chiara’s dish’ that she likes to make and she uses a Bill Granger recipe that you can find here. Breadcrumbs are made in the Thermomix around here if we have two-day-old bread (doesn’t happen very often) and it is stored in the  freezer in ziplock bags. 

DSC_0847

Before school baking is back in full swing and yesterday I made this great slice – Chewy Chocolate Oat Slice. The recipe made enough for two days worth of lunch box snacks, plus enough for after school treats as well! I made the fortunate mistake of running out of honey and subbed in 70 grams of molasses.. it was delicious! 

DSC_0849

On Monday, a new batch of granola style muesli was cooked up and will feed the hungry hoards for a week or two. I will write up my easy recipe and share it with you soon. I keep a jar of the muesli on the kitchen bench and the kids often walk past and grab a handful.. it’s jammed packed full of nuts, seeds, and oats, with only a bit of maple syrup, so I don’t mind! 

What have you been up to the in kitchen this week? Let me know what you have made! Share a link to a favourite recipe!

What’s your normal?

DSC_0804 DSC_0810

My normal is different to your normal. 

My normal consists of a loud, spontaneous household. 

My normal is loads of washing left in the machine until I remember that I need to do another load of wash, usually when the kids run out of underwear.

My normal is starting projects and not finishing them.

My normal is a pile of books on my bedside table, all half read. 

My normal is insisting on naps and quiet time. 

My normal is dinner at seven.

My normal is committing to too many things. 

My normal is that my husband works away from home at times. 

My normal is looking for sunsets and beautiful cloud formations. 

My normal is my chore list. 

This is my normal and this is our normal.

DSC_0806 DSC_0812

This week I was challenged over one of these things that I consider ‘normal’ for our family. Rob was away and I needed to be somewhere with the kids. My day had started terribly with me accidentally setting the alarm for 6pm, so I slept in and the debacle of a day snowballed from there.  When  I was challenged, I wanted to justify my position.  And as per usual, I blustered and blundered my way through a response. Immediately I wished I had kept my mouth shut, as my response made me sound defensive. Blame it on lack of sleep – although I am sure that extra hour I had that day was exactly what I needed!

The backbones of our families are made up of rituals, customs, rules and values honed over time, borne of circumstance or bare necessity.

The backbones of our families are made up of rituals, customs, rules and values honed over time, borne of circumstance or bare necessity. They are all different and yet it’s this difference is something that should be celebrated. Our normals might be abnormal to others and that is ok if that is what works for you. As a wise old chook once said to me “If it’s working for you, it’s working!”

Sometimes it’s the people who shout “GRACE” the loudest that are often the most judgmental.  I have been like that, and as my family culture has changed so much over the last few years  I have learned to keep my opinions to myself, no matter how well intended they might be. Every now and then I slip up and every time I am ashamed. 

We do need to be more gracious and have a deep abiding confidence that everyone is trying to do their best. 

I know I am, with all my failings and stuff ups. 

Colossians 3

What is your normal that might be perceived as abnormal? Tell me!