Give us this day our daily bread

Preparing 3 meals a day for my family, day after day got me thinking, what sorts of lessons could kids (of any age) learn from pitching in, or even taking over a meal here and there?! Sure, its quicker, cleaner and safer to have the kids out of the kitchen, but here’s a list of things anyone, but especially kids can learn from cooking.  

  • Life can be a challenge.
    It is hard and messy sometimes. And it doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped even when you do everything just right. The good news is most kids and food are resilient, forgiving and adaptable.
  • Work together.
    As with most things, its better to work together. Some of my favorite memories were created in the kitchen while helping my grandma and my mom on various meals and treats.
  • Have fun.
    Its easy to get lost in the mundane, sometimes monotonous steps of cooking, and in the repetition of the day to day. Including kids is a remainder that it can and should be a joy!
  • Food brings people together.
    So much of life’s sacred moments are shared around a table and a meal, especially right now. Food always seems to taste better when there’s someone to share it with.
  • There is magic in the mundane.
    Putting seemingly uninteresting things together can create a wonderful (yummy) result if you mix in a bit of creativity.
  • Be proud of yourself.
    When kids make something and serve it to their family, there’s a huge sense of importance and a pride that comes from contributing to the whole.
  • There’s a whole world to discover.
    Trying new recipes, making something up from your own head, “traveling” the globe through different cuisine gives a sense that the possibilities are endless and there is so much to discover in food and culture, in taste and variety.
  • Its ok to make mistakes.
    Cooking can be messy, and things invariably go wrong once in a while. The kitchen is a great place for kids to see adults goof up, correct, and improvise. (Sometimes cereal for dinner is creative problem-solving.)
  • God is with us.
    Its important to remember is that our most central act of worship is based around a meal. In the ordinary of bread and wine, of a meal shared, Christ is present. Our family tables are now the altars in which we worship the living God, right in our own homes.

So, if you’re the chef in your house, step aside here and there and let these lessons be made real for others in your family. Youth, if given the opportunity, might be thrilled to menu plan and execute a meal of their very own creation to serve to your family. (It can also be counted as culinary arts class time 😉 )Using their creativity, their taste and their open schedule right now could just be the best thing for everyone! A break for you, and a boost of confidence and creativity for them.

Bon Appétit!


I had a conversation with a parent the other day that has me laughing still. In the conversation he said:

“Kids just need space and parents need to get the recognition that we’re all on the same team (even when the kids want to be on their own team called “This Sucks”).

Keeping communication open gives opportunity to get on the same team. Sometimes it feels insurmountable, but keep trying! Here’s a few conversation starters that are different than the regular conversations you might be having with them! Try them out at the dinner table, or in the back yard playing catch, on a walk or while doing something creative with your hands!

We were together.

So last week was about 756 days long, right?!

Turns out were collectively trying to figure out a new way of functioning, and its hard. Like SO hard!

This weekend I was thinking about what the heck our kids will say about this time in their lives. What will they remember?

I suppose it depends on their age, but 10 or 20 years from now, what will they remember and recount about this global pandemic? Will they remember the things we as parents will? Will they remember all the worry and the scrambling to get prepared? All the panic and chaos that we currently feel?

As I played my 30th round of “check out” (read: grocery store) this weekend it dawned on me…

They will not remember many of the things that I will remember. They will only remember that we were together.

It was a shift I needed.

Image result for we were together i forget the rest

In a time where I feel so out of control about what’s happening in the world around me, where I feel so many emotions and learn new information from hour to hour (or minute to minute), I had a shift.

I realized that I can only control what’s happening in my own home, and for a control freak, that’s a HUGE shift! I can control what memories are being made, how they feel and what messages about faith and life they’re learning inside our home in these weeks.

I also had a realization that while this is crazy, and scary and life altering, its also a gift.

And speaking of gift… I also decided that I’m going to document these weird and wild weeks in photographs and make myself a chatbook, so that when I remember this time, I remember not only the chaos and uncertainty, but I’ll visually remember the sweet moments, the hilarious moments and everything in between.

Cuz well…

I hope I only get one “shelter in place” mandate in my life, and I want to remember it as God remembers.

It won’t be perfect, (trust me, its totally not been perfect already) and it won’t be without messiness, but it will be filled with grace and forgiveness from God.

It will be filled with laughter and second, or even eleventh tries, hard work and even some terrible “we need a do over” days. But in all the ups and downs, it will be filled with the promise that we are not alone. The promise that God is with us, and for us.

God is near, my friends, and while we humans must keep distance, God does not. God stays near.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo App Illustration
find it in the app store

While we have to be physically distant, we don’t have to be socially distant! For kid’s, especially middle and high school kids, friends are their lifeline (also, extroverts like me!). What’s getting me through these days is checking in with my family and friends and I wanted to pass along a fun way to do just that! Its an app called Marco Polo, you can record video messages back and forth. It serves a bit like FaceTime but you don’t have to be available when a message comes through, it saves them until you’re ready to view it!

I’ve been using it with Westwood teenagers this week, and man, is it a lifesaver! It’s better than texting because I can hear the emotions and see their faces. I have a friend who has been using it with her middle schooler to talk about silly but also big, deep stuff this week, while they work in separate rooms!

As people of faith we are called into relationship, to help each other see and know that we matter, that our stories and our stuff matters. When the world feels big and difficult, we’ve gotta lean on one another in relationship. Let’s find fun ways to lean into those relationships while we are physically apart so that we can strengthen our connection to one another and grow.

Marco … Polo!

If you download it and use it, drop a line in the comments and tell us your favorite part about it, we’d love to know the fun ways you’re connecting with each other!

Don't miss it.

This quarantine business is overwhelming. No doubt. No basketball tournaments. No concerts. No soccer games or track seasons. No toilet paper at Target. No hectic weeknight or weekend schedules.

BUT, WHAT IF…this is the opportunity we’ve always wanted to slow down and reconnect with and invest in our families? A break from our “busyness”. A chance to play and pray and REALLY listen to each other!

Image may contain: possible text that says 'FAMILY WE MAY NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER, BUT TOGETHER WE HAVE IT ALL'

An opportunity to be reminded of what’s really at the center. What really matters.

Don’t miss it.

adapted from Pastor Hans Dahl

Attitude of Gratitude

As our rhythms change and things feel big, I have to ask myself, “what’s really happening here”? Do you? Is it helpful for you to stop and take a minute to find your center? Writing down the things that we’re grateful for can help us to reorient ourselves in a time of chaos and uncertainty. Print this out and hang everyone’s on the fridge, screenshot it and post it to your Facebook or Instagram story, use it at the dinner table, however its helpful to keep you centered and your tweens/teens talking or writing!


Here’s a twist on the traditional scavenger hunt – instead of gathering items from a list, you will make photos of each of the list items. All of these items can (hopefully) be found inside your home. Feel free to change items, or add your own!

For these photos, think creatively and not just literally! The goal is not to take a documentary photo of the objects, but to create a new work of art that has feeling and meaning to it beyond representing the object. Your camera is not a copier, so use the camera as a your paintbrush. Feel free to do whatever YOU want to create these photos. Move stuff. Put your camera in a place you wouldn’t normally. Think abstract, not literal. Also, think, “one more” when taking photos. If you already have a photo of an object, and see a different one later, take one more photo.

When you are done with the photo scavenger hunt, take a moment to think about: what specific objects did you take photos of and why? which photo(s) do you like best and why? what did you learn about how you create?

Post your photos here so everyone can see your artistry!

Thanks to my friend @msladekphoto for helping us create art together!

The Next Right Thing

Talking about what’s happening in our world, keeping open communication with our kids (teens especially) is so important.
There’s lots of grief for our teenagers right now. Missed proms, cancelled sports seasons, cancelled graduation ceremonies, distanced from friends which are kids’ life line, the list goes on. Keep communication open with them, let them lament, let them be mad, sad and everything in between, for teenagers, those things that seem small to us, are so big, and their whole world.
Its OK to say you don’t know, there’s no guidebook to parent through pandemic, but we all can do the next right thing.


There’s a lot of talk about hands these days, huh?

Do you think about your hands? If I’m honest, I don’t think of them a whole lot. Until recently! Are they clean, am I touching my face, what have I touched, who else has had their hands on it, etc. but also, what is it that my hands are capable of? My hands are so powerful in my daily life, they can be helpful and they could be hurtful too. The way we understand being God’s hands (and feet) in the world shifts a bit and causes us to get creative, in a lot of ways.

As we refrain from touching hands, touching things, from being physically connected it can feel like our hands are idle and we are helpless. Instead I’d invite you to think of all the things you can do with your hands that are helpful and not helpless in this time of distancing. Here are a few ideas, and we’d love to hear some of your ideas too! Post them in the comments to add to the list.

  • write a note to someone
  • pick up the phone and check in on someone
  • wave at someone while out for a walk
  • learn to crochet or knit
  • put on a puppet show
  • teach our kids how to sew on a button, or iron, or scrub a toilet 😉
  • take pictures
  • text someone that you’re thinking of them
  • finger paint
  • do a puzzle
  • pray!

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back, you’re getting creative and re-patterning some of the ways you do life. Its hard work, but we can do hard things!
My friend Jewel (and God) reminds us:

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all OK
I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith

For light does the darkness most fear

It feels like we’re not OK, because we are not all OK, but we will be OK. God is with us always but, especially when we’re not OK. In the end, kindness toward our neighbor matters. Stay home, stay connected, we’re in this together!
Be sure to tell us how you’re being God’s hands in the world this week, how your hands are being helpful and what you’re learning about your hands!