"Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand." 2 Corinthians 1: 24

I found this verse in my morning devotions today. Paul, Timothy, and Silas felt they were to help the joy of the Christians in Corinth. That is one of a preacher's jobs that I never really realized before. I too can be a helper of joy and encourage others!

I like the last part of that verse where Paul says, "for by faith ye stand." Amen. What other way can we have lasting joy? We can only have real joy when we realize that what God says is true and base our faith upon it. Then we are not tossed to and fro, but we stand and can have real joy knowing what we stand upon is never going to fail.

Another verse I liked in this chapter is verse 4, which says, "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." The only way we can be a comfort or help to others is if we are getting alone with God and receiving comfort and help from Him. We can only give what we've received from Him!

Be joyful today! :)

I've found one of the best ways to get my son to start the day off right is to get him in the kitchen and helping me prepare breakfast. This morning he cut up some banana for his brother's tray, and you could tell he felt very proud that he helped "make" the food. He also helped me butter the bread for grilled cheese this morning, and then ate it up once it was done.

Today I bought him his own little spatula, whisk. measuring cup, measuring spoon and mixing bowl. Who says boys don't belong in the kitchen? 

Here are some ideas for toddlers in the kitchen:
  • Let them use a plastic knife to cut soft fruit or spread cream cheese on a bagel.
  • They love stirring and watching things change, so try letting them help you make some instant pudding or Jell-O!
  • Once you've chopped up some veggies, let them move the veggies from the cutting board to a salad bowl.
  • My son's favorite thing is shelling peas. I open the shells, and he rakes the peas out and into a pot. Then he likes to "cook" them by stirring them with a spoon.
  • Cutting out cookies with the cookie cutters is fun, and decorating them is fun too!

Of course, there are a ton of fun things to do in the kitchen with toddlers. The goal of kitchen time is keeping them near you so you can enjoy them, AND so they can learn some great skills. They learn to work together, to follow instructions, and if you keep at it long enough, they'll learn to cook!
I guess I'll just jump right in with something I've been thinking about lately. As mothers in the 21st century, we tend to get so rushed. So caught up with the business of life. This is a hindrance to joy in our homes. I can be cleaning, running errands, talking on the phone, checking email and Facebook, doing laundry, changing the baby's diaper all within 5 minutes and some of those things all at the same time!

The Bible teaches us to be still. We're told in Psalms to be still and know that He is God. Jesus praises Mary, who sat quietly at Jesus's feet and learned of Him. There is a lot of value in being still and resting. God Himself rested on the sixth day as an example to us that we need to rest!

I'm learning to stop and take time to enjoy my kids. Yesterday we went strawberry picking, and rode the tractor to the fields twice because it was a delight to my oldest son. We didn't rush, we just enjoyed. What a joy it was to us! What a reward were all the laughs and smiles! 

Today we played on the floor and laughed at each other. We just drank each other in. It was fun to stop my work for a few minutes and just revel in the amazing creativity of my kids! Tonight I want to take some time to just talk to my husband about nothing in particular. 

It's important to well-being and joy that we rest and take breaks. Don't try to be a super-mom--trust me, you'll just end up with bad health and little joy.

Rest and enjoy today!