Making My Life Easier: Menu Planning

Twenty-nine years times 365 equals 10,585

Why that calculation?

That is approximately how many times I have had to make a decision about dinner. Now obviously, I have not made dinner that many times over the course of the last twenty-nine years, but probably pretty darn close to that number.

No wonder I am stuck in a rut and just a bit plain tired of planning dinner each and every week.

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook recently about dinner planning and all that goes into it.

It is just not planning what to eat each night of the week.

When I sit down on Monday morning to plan our week of dinners, I look at the weather, who is going to be home each night, what ingredients we have on hand, is anything on sale, what additional items I need to purchase, what ingredients need to be prepped, does anything need to be taken out of the freezer, when do things need to be taken out of the freezer…. I think you get the picture.

Obviously, my individual family situation is much different than many other families.

Up until a couple of years ago, I was pretty much a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with time to shop for and prepare a good portion of our meals.

But now that I am substitute teaching a good number of days a month, and traveling to Compassion events at least once a month, my schedule is all over the place.

And our kid’s work schedules are not consistent.

So, to make my life easier, a few months back, we had a family meeting to discuss menu planning and dinner.

The solution…our two adult children are each responsible for dinner one night a week.

This week, our menu looks like this:

Menu planning

I have even started making notations for each day so I know who will be home for dinner.

This is just one thing I have implemented that is making my life easier these days.

What one thing are you doing to make your life easier?

The ABCs of Compassion - Kids

Continuing on through the alphabet for my series of ‘The ABCs of Compassion’ and at first, I wasn’t really sure what word I should use for the letter ‘K’.

But then I decided on the obvious…kids!!

Compassion center in Chiapas Mexico

Compassion’s mission statement is ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.’

So of course, kids are a big deal!

Compassion center in Colombia

Compassion kids have hopes and dreams.

Compassion center in Mexico

Compassion, through the local churches, is giving thousands of kids around the world many opportunities they never would have had available.

Kids are learning to read.

Kids are learning about basic hygiene.

Kids are learning how to play with other kids.

Kids are learning about Jesus.

Compassion in El Salvador

Seeing the photo above, you would never imagine that this group of kids live in impoverished areas of El Salvador. These kids live in areas where it is too dangerous to take their instruments home. Because of this, they are only able to practice together for about an hour a week.

But when we sat and listened to these kids perform for us, it brought us all to tears.

The lives of many kids around the world are being changed each and every day because of their local church and their loving sponsor.

Compassion center in Mexico

Are you ready to love on a kid growing up in extreme poverty?

Sponsor a Compassion kid today!

The ABCs of Compassion - Jesus

Out of all the letters of the alphabet for Compassion, this has got to be the most important one.

‘J’ is for Jesus!

Jesus is at the heart of Compassion.

So much so, that Jesus is a part of Compassion’s mission statement:

Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name

In the book, Mission Drift, the authors share that Compassion has been told that if they remove the last three words from their mission statement, they would be able to work in more countries around the world.

And I tell people at events all the time, there are a lot of wonderful organizations doing amazing things to help people who are living in extreme poverty.

But if those people do not know who Jesus is, and if they do not have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus, they have no eternal hope.

This is why I love volunteering with Compassion!

I love knowing that at each and every Compassion center, the Gospel is being taught to each and every child. And in many cases, the children are sharing about Jesus with their families!

Mural of Jesus and children at Compassion center in Colombia

What word would you have chosen to go with the letter ‘J’?

Baking Bucket List

At the beginning of this year, I wrote down a few goals I wanted to accomplish this year. Since I love to bake, I decided to make a list of things I have never made before. My list included the following:

Baking Bucket List

Basically, this is my Baking Bucket List for 2019.

As you can see, I have not made much progress.

But I have made a couple of batches of macaroons (macarons? does anybody know the correct way to spell this word?):

Making macaroons
homemade macaroons

I still have quite a bit of almond flour, so I really should make another batch or two and experiment with different flavors and colors.

They really are not too difficult to make, you just need to make sure to really pay attention to the details.

And bagels?

Homemade sourdough bagels
Homemade bagel and coffee

I have been using a homemade sourdough bagel recipe from this cookbook: Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa

If you have a sourdough starter, you will want to give the bagel recipe a try. They are so delicious and really easy to make.

As far as the rest of my baking bucket list, I am not sure how many recipes I will try this summer.

After all, summer is not the usual time of year to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with the oven on.

What would you put on your baking bucket list?

Compassion by the Numbers

For the past four and a half years, I have been serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for Compassion events in Northern California. In this role, I do a lot of behind the scenes activities to make sure that there is volunteer coverage at all events in Northern California where the Compassion sponsorship opportunity is being presented. This could be any number of events: conferences, concerts, Compassion Experience events, etc.

Our region can be extremely busy!

Over the last six months, I learned that we had 19 events in our region.

For these 19 events, we had 449 volunteers.

At these 19 events with these 449 volunteers, 1293 Compassion children were sponsored!!

What? Say that again!

Compassion children sponsored at events in Northern California so far in 2019

One thousand, two hundred, ninety three children!

That is basically FIVE Compassion centers of children!!

Compassion children in Colombia

But the thing I love about Compassion, it is not about the big numbers.

When one child is sponsored, it changes that one child’s life.

That child will have their basic needs met.

That child will learn about how much Jesus loves them.

And when that one child decides to follow Jesus, it impacts them for eternity.

When we look at the overall issue of global poverty, we can feel stuck.

Compassion is helping each one of us tackle global poverty, one child at a time.

I would love for everyone who takes the time to read my blog to sponsor a Compassion child.

Will you sponsor a waiting Compassion child today?