Mama’s K.I.S.S. #43–Cooking Times Four

Portrait of happy mother and her daughter cooking in the kitchen

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 43 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

I’m sure you’ve thought of doing this with your kids, but it’s been a real benefit to ministry on several occasions for this family. Every time I make a casserole, a cobbler or a soup of any kind, I multiply all ingredient amounts by four, prepare the ingredients, and then spoon them out into 4-6 casserole dishes (depending on dish sizes), cover them well with heavy-duty foil, and freeze all of them except the one we are having for supper. I usually place the wrapped dishes in individual giant zippy bags to help guard them from freezer burn. I also label the bags with the name of the dish and the instructions for cooking or re-heating the dish. The casseroles and pies are almost always placed in the freezer before the baking, so you can just grab them from the freezer, thaw them and bake according to directions. Soups only need reheating. This is great math for upper-elementary kids, as they multiply the fractions of cups and teaspoons, and it’s great hospitality and benevolence planning for kids (especially daughters) of any age.

I know I don’t need to explain the benefits of this, but here goes. It’s cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk.  It greatly reduces cooking time because it only takes a few more minutes to make four casseroles than it takes to make one. When you do four meals at the time, you have one mess to clean up instead of four. 

But the biggest plus for me is being able to take a dish to a grieving family on the spur of the moment or to enjoy time with visiting family or friends instead of spending all my time cooking and cleaning the kitchen. It’s great to be able to have food on hand for Sunday dinners or fellowship meals. It’s great to be able to take a meal to someone who has just gotten home from the hospital or to someone who has a sick child. Best of all, your kids are watching and absorbing this active freezer ministry which just becomes a part of your family’s routine. It would be worth the price of my deep freezer many times over just for the consistency of hospitality and benevolence that it afforded our family. Of course we were still not even close to thorough or perfect as we took advantage of having a deep freezer. But still, it was/is a very helpful tool. 

Here are some dishes that work particularly well in the freezer. I’ve included the most recent recipe that I prepared and froze as well. It was very good! Thanks to Diana Shafer in Collierville, TN for sharing! It has already gone to a couple of octogenarians in their home in Tennessee and  to a visiting preacher-student family around our table.

These work well: 

Any kind of soup



Poppy seed chicken casseroles

Chicken, broccoli and rice casseroles

Most pasta dishes (especially if they are creamy)

Ground beef and vegetable casseroles

Dumpling dishes

Cobblers of any kind 

Dump cakes

Enchilada casseroles

Casseroles with crescent roll type crusts/toppings

Homemade Bread (Wrap well in a couple of layers of heavy duty foil or plastic wrap.)

(If a casserole calls for a cracker or potato chip or corn chip topping, add this after you remove it from the freezer.) 

                                                                                  Creamy Chicken


4-8 chicken breasts or 1 chicken

1 pt. sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 8 oz. package Pepperidge Farm dressing mix (may use more)… (Also, I think I used a store brand and it was yum.)

1/4 c.milk

1 can cream of mushroom soup


Cook chicken (boil or cook in microwave). Cool. Remove skin and cut into bite-size pieces. Line 9×13 dish with chicken. (But you can really use any size dishes. cc) Sprinkle with salt. Combine soups, sour cream and milk. Spread this over chicken.Prepare dressing mix according to directions on package. Margarine may be omitted if you do not like rich dressing. Use broth from chicken or chicken bouillon for liquid required in dressing mix. Spread dressing on top of soup mixture. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. May be frozen before baking.  (This is easy and so very good!)


Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #42– Dropping Opportunities

Fiestas_Patrias_Parade,_South_Park,_Seattle,_2015_-_090_-_child_picking_up_candy_(21574028625)-1As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 42 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

There are so many of these “dropping opportunities” if moms just look around. It helps to start this one way before your kids are big enough to participate. It’s just courtesy, kindness and deference to others and it will come naturally to teach this to your children if you begin practicing this on your own before it’s time to teach them. Just watch for people, especially older people who drop something. Sometimes she knocks items off of a  grocery shelf. Sometimes she inadvertently leaves a coin purse unzipped and coins roll all over the parking lot as she unlocks her car. Sometimes it’s someone younger and her baby drops a sippy cup or a pacifier from the stroller or grocery cart. A grocery list, a walking cane, a pencil, a kleenex, a pair of sunglasses…even a communion cup from a shaky hand—someone is always dropping something and dropping times are stopping times for moms who want to put service in the hearts of their kids. When your kids get big enough, make it a contest to see who can calmly and safely be first to pick up a dropped item for someone while you are out today. Kids who smile and speak (without a reminder) to the person who dropped the item as it’s returned get an extra point. If the returned “stuff” requires “catching and/or gathering” from the ground, that’s another point.

I know. This is common sense. But common sense about courtesy is becoming less and less common as we incorporate our families into an ever busier and isolated world. This is a simple way to help us preserve the vestiges of courtesy in the places where they are precious to Christian families; most especially our homes. 

Finally, all of you, have… a tender heart, and a humble mind. (I Peter 3:8)

Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #39–The Gift Closet

target 75As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 39 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

The Gift Closet

It’s been fun to watch my daughter transition into her own home with her own family and continue the “gift closet” tradition. Throughout the growing up years of our kids, they always knew there was one closet that was always stocked with little gifts for those times when someone needed encouragement: a thank-you, a prize for winning the family devotional Bible game, a welcome gift, a good-bye gift, or when your whole Bible class had earned a reward. Everyone needs a gift closet, pantry, or cabinet.

Right now, mine contains some Valentine vases, an Easter bunny book, some Bath and Body 75 percent off items, some monogrammed Christmas ornaments, some candles, some clearance toys, some bed linens and some made-to-order graduation gifts personalized with a popular university logo (bought in bulk)…just to name a few things. The plusses of a gift closet are obvious: 1)You save money because you buy at deep discount prices and save gifts for when you need them. This is good stewardship. 2) You can give more because giving is easier. 3) You can have fun Bible Time rewards for spontaneous games. 4) Your kids start to think in terms of the joy of giving because they see it happening so much. (They start asking if they can have something from the stash to give to people who can use encouragement.) 5) Your kids grow up and continue the tradition.

My favorite gift closet memory includes a Saturday when two well-known preachers were unexpectedly visiting in our home, along with our collegiate children. Our kids had been expecting to have a little holiday celebration for some minor holiday. (We celebrate everything!) Well, we just went on and played our holiday game (“Let’s Make a Deal” as I recall) with the whole gang. It was the best time ever, to watch those guys trying to win those little prizes from one another. One of the folks there had just attended the funeral of a dear family member who had passed away in a tragic accident and I remember him saying “This has been fun. It has helped me to think about something other than the horrible events of the last few days.”

If I’d only had the closet for just that one day, it would have been worth it!


Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #38–Communion Cups

DSC_2270As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 38 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Communion Cups

All kinds of lessons come to those blessed children who are assigned the task of collecting the used communion cups after the worship service is completed. The first is that they see their name in the bulletin under “PICK UP COMMUNION CUPS”. There’s something that says “You’re an important part of this family,” when our kids see their artwork and chore list on the refrigerator at home. There’s something that says the same thing when they hear their question discussed from the pulpit on Question-and-Answer night or when they see their name beside a “chore” in the church bulletin or on the church website. It’s an important feeling of belonging.

The next big lesson, of course, is service. It’s not necessarily the cleanest job. When it’s your child’s turn, you will want to be sure she is not wearing the heirloom dress that Aunt Betsy smocked. (Grape juice is very hard to remove.) You will want to get out the hand sanitizer when she is done. But even those precautions say to your child “We want to get to do the jobs that are not as glorious and beautiful as some other jobs might be. You know Jesus probably didn’t feel so glorious when they stripped off his clothes and nailed Him to that Roman cross. That’s what we (the adults) were thinking about when we drank from these cups, you know.”

Then there’s the benefit of learning to smile and greet all the people all over the building who are “in their way” when they are making the pick-up rounds (rather than running over them). There’s a lot of good training in that little lesson. Kids learn to wait patiently for elderly people who are leaving their pews and to be kind to them as they exit. And, hopefully, elderly people show kindness and gratitude to the children for the job they are doing. It’s a kindness builder.

When you put two children on the job each week, they learn cooperation skills and division of tasks and they build camaraderie. When it’s time to empty, wash, dry and store the pails, they learn to follow through to the very end of a job. (Help them, but don’t do this part for them.) They are making memories in the Lord’s service. I’m glad we went to congregations in which my kids got to fill up the pail after the worship services were concluded. They looked forward to seeing if their names were in the bulletin!

So, go ahead, save a couple of ice cream buckets and get going on this one.

Happy end-of-summer and back-to-school! Look for the back-to school special from The Colley House next week!

Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #36–Serving the Intellectually Disabled

imagesAs you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 36 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Today’s suggestion is simple. Find ways for your children to be around and serve people with intellectual disabilities. Whether it’s elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s or younger people with any number of challenging disabilities, your children will grow leaps and bounds in servant-heart development if you will be sure they attend to the needs of those with challenges of the mind.

Some of the most memorable rides home from worship that my children experienced in their young years were on the days when we stopped to pick up “Crippled Danny” and take him to the store or to his little apartment in Jasper, Alabama. Now I know that it is not politically correct or perhaps even kind in today’s climate to refer to a man as “Crippled Danny.”  I’m keeping it real as I confess that this is what we called this friend. It was his nickname in town and it did not occur to us, at the time, that this nomenclature was not the best.  I can recall Glenn and I talking often about the fact that it was a good thing for our kids to get to know Crippled Danny.  It was good for them to sit beside him in the back seat of our car and laugh with him about the things he had been doing as he hobbled around the town that day. It was good for them to help him get the things he needed at the store and to get back safely to his apartment. It was good to talk to them about how that Danny’s little legs were underdeveloped, but that his greatest disability was in his mind; that people who could never think like grown-ups would always be around us and they would always need our help. It was important to talk to them about Matthew 25 and how serving people who cannot think “right” (you have to put it in the vernacular of kids)  is every bit as important as serving people who cannot walk, talk, see or hear.

As your kids grow there will be lots of opportunities to minister to people with challenges of the mind or emotions. They will be on the pew in front of you, in the grocery line behind you and on the bus beside you.  (If you don’t find them there, check out a local Alzheimer’s care facility or nursing home.)

One more of our most precious opportunities was to have a sweet association with one of our brotherhood’s great elderly preachers during his recent years of  mental decline. Sometimes his wonderful caretakers, his daughter and her husband, would need a day or a night out of the house or even out of town. A time or two it worked out so that we were in town and privileged to have this wonderful servant of God stay with us. What a privilege for all of us and especially for our teenagers to be able to hear the same stories again and again and watch the same magic tricks over and over. I can remember one of those weekends having a large group of Freed Hardeman University students spending the weekend at the same time that this friend was spending the night. It was the most precious thing to watch them listen and laugh with him patiently and then to watch him sing along with them till about two in the morning. It was a joy to think about the transference of this beautiful singing to that place around the throne where there will be no debilitating differences in age, stamina or ability. (I remember the elderly gentleman enjoying this singing so much that he just did not want to go to bed. I told him that he needed to go ahead and take his night-time meds because his usual bedtime had long since passed. His reply was “No, I take my medicines when I go to bed and I am not going to bed yet.”)

So go ahead and make sure your kids are serving and enjoying some people who have memory or intellectual challenges. Do it early in their lives so they will never develop or recognize any stigma attached by peers to associating with these wonderful people. Loving the Lord our God with all of our minds means sharing those minds–gifts that we deserve no more than those who are handicapped–with those who may need extra help. When we love Him in this way with our minds, we are guaranteed to love Him more every day with our hearts, souls and strength, too, because this kind of sharing is both selfless and demanding. Your kids will be better for it.

Sister to Sister: Figuring Out Godliness–Part 3

Do You Trust Him?

aster_cafev1_600x300I went to lunch recently with a couple of friends from a denomination who wanted to talk about women and ministry. It seems they had a close girlfriend who was an extremely talented speaker. “She’s got this amazing ability to convince and convict non-believers. She’s a better preacher than any man we know” they said. “Don’t you think God expects her to use her talents to speak to people about him? “

The answer is “yes.” Of course there are settings in which all of the talents God has given me can and should be used to His glory. But just because I’ve been blessed with a talent, doesn’t mean there are no divinely imposed restrictions regarding the use of that talent. My husband is a great guitarist, but he does not play the guitar in worship. My daughter is a great cook, but she doesn’t prepare her famous macaroni and cheese for the communion table. I like public speaking. Is that a talent I can use in worship to God?

Let’s look at the passage from I Timothy 2 again:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (I Tim. 2:11-14).

In a context that is addressing worship issues, women are commanded to be silent. They are commanded not to have authority over or dominate a man in worship. Before we address the reasons given in the passage, let’s look at a parallel scripture:

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church (I Cor.14:34,35)

The devil has often used the tool of feminism in our society to make God’s people ashamed to adhere to clear teachings of the New Testament about the role of women in worship. After all, this is the 21st century. Women are astronauts, engineers, CEOs and presidential candidates. Can we really continue promoting this antiquated notion that women are to be silent in our worship assemblies?

Romans 12: 2 tells us “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”.  Sometimes when we think of worldliness, we think of immorality. We think of drinking, gambling, reckless affluence, and illicit sex. But being conformed to the world is simply allowing the culture around us to influence us to disobey God.  The teachings about a woman’s role in worship are some of the plainest teachings in the New Testament.  We need help to misunderstand them.  The fact that they are not politically correct in our culture does not change them.

Frequently, I will have someone ask “Couldn’t this teaching have been for Paul’s culture only? Does it necessarily apply to women today?”  In our text, it is almost as if the Holy Spirit anticipated this question. Notice he proceeds to give the reason for the command: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

Notice that the reason, (what happened in the Garden of Eden), has to do with people far removed from Paul’s culture. In I Peter 3; 4, 5, Peter reiterates the submission principle, in this case speaking about submission of a woman to her husband. Notice the woman who modeled submission for the first century Christian women was Sarah. But Sarah lived a couple of millenniums before the first century.   She was definitely not part of Peter’s culture.  See, the teaching about submission in the church and in the home is not a culture-limited teaching. It began in the Garden and continues to apply in God’s new covenant.  It applies throughout all eras of time and across all cultures.

While I can see many reasons for God’s imposed limitations for women in worship, it’s important to remember that whether or not a command makes sense to me is irrelevant to its importance or the consequences of disobeying it. As a matter of fact, if I choose to obey only the commands that make sense to me, then I am not really trusting God. I’m not really doing what God says because he says it. I’m doing what I think is best. While our faith is a reasonable, logic based faith, it goes a step beyond logic. Faith says “I will obey when it makes sense to me and even when it doesn’t, because I trust that God knows what’s best for my life.”

But remember. The answer to the question about whether I should use my teaching talents in the kingdom was “yes.” So if I cannot teach in worship, then how can I use this talent?

I know a young lady who started a community Bible study for ladies in her hometown. She obtained permission to use a town hall and soon had about 50 women in attendance, half of whom were not members of the Lord’s church. I dare say she was reaching more non-Christians with the gospel than her husband who was the local preacher. But was she in any way having authority over men? No.

I know a teenager who started a weekly devotional for girls via email. Her weekly emails strengthened and blessed the lives of dozens of girls each week. Was she using her teaching talents for the kingdom? Oh, yes. But she was not violating the passage.

My daughter and I often have the chance to speak for ladies groups:  ladies’ days, teen girls’ days, ladies classes at lectureships, girls’ sessions at youth rallies, mother-daughter banquets, youth camps and retreats. All of these are wonderful times of fellowship and learning for all involved, especially us. But in none of these cases are we violating the passage.

It has been my experience and observation that those of us who are concerned about being Titus 2 women (as noted above), evangelizing the lost, and caring for the needy  have far more to do in the kingdom than we can possibly accomplish in this lifetime, without clamoring for positions of leadership that God reserved for men. It has also been my observation that when women step into positions of leadership in worship, important jobs best done by women (the care of their children, hospitality, the guiding of the house) are neglected. But let me say it again: It doesn’t really matter if I can see the wisdom in the prohibition. God said it. Faith is doing what God says to do. Period.