your kid’s lunchbox…what’s inside?

Little Bobby backed up?  Well, with school starting up for most kids in  AZ, we need to be sure that we have lots of fiber in his lunchbox!

So one of the best ways to keep your child regular and promote his digestive health is to feed him plenty of fiber. Instead of sitting him down at the counter with a big bowl of sugary cereal, try these dietitian-approved, kid-friendly snacks and lunch items that will go down easy in every way. ( via WebMD)

Homemade Trail Mix

Help kids make their own trail mix by putting out bowls of dried fruit, nuts, or seeds along with a higher-fiber cereal, and mixing them up into to-go containers or plastic bags, recommends Louise Goldberg, RD, LD, owner of An Apple A Day Nutrition Consulting in Houston, Texas, and formerly a dietitian at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. (Just be sure to minimize the sugary “treat” ingredients, like chocolate chips or other candies.)

Flavorful Fruits and Veggies

Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber –particularly with the skin on. If your child resists them, try making them fun by spearing fruit and veggie slices onto a kebab, or making a face with sliced-up fruits and veggies, suggests Beth Pinkos, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian for the department of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, nutrition, and liver diseases at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island.

“You can use raisins for eyes, baby carrots for a nose, and celery for eyebrows, and an apple slice for a smile,” she says.

Remember not to give carrots to children younger than 3 or raisins to kids younger than 4 as they can be a choking hazard.

Creamy Dips

Kids who resist fiber-rich fruits and veggies may also be more adventurous if they can dip them in something first — like yogurt, peanut butter, salad dressing, or hummus.

Mixed-Up Cereals

Having trouble getting your child to try that whole-wheat fiber cereal? Try mixing up a couple of high-fiber cereals with a small amount of one of the less good-for-you options that your child may be drawn to in the cereal aisle.

“Kids like to mix and match cereals like little chemists,” says Pinkos. “Look for a high-fiber cereal that has 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, and then let them mix it up with just a little bit of one of the junkier ones.”

Sandwich in Some Fiber

Just as with cereal, the whole-grain breads or wraps you’re using for your kids’ sandwiches should have at least three grams of fiber per serving.

“Check the package — just because it’s called ‘whole grain,’ that doesn’t always translate to fiber,” says Goldberg. “And don’t be fooled by red- and green-colored wraps — that doesn’t necessarily translate to fiber either.”

Add Color With Berries

In addition to being colorful and sweet, “berries with seeds are very high in fiber, and kids usually love them,” says Goldberg.

Perhaps the highest-fiber berry is the little raspberry. They can be expensive, but it doesn’t take much to amp up the fiber. “Just a quarter cup has about the same amount of fiber as almost an entire apple,” she says.

Grab Some Granola

The granola bar aisle at your local supermarket is probably packed with high-fiber bars. They’re easy to pack and often appealing to kids.

“Kids really like some of the flavors they have now,” says Pinkos. But take care if your child starts treating the bars like candy. “Don’t let them go crazy and go from eating a low-fiber diet to three high-fiber bars a day, because they’ll become gassy and uncomfortable.”

‘Secret’ Ingredients

Some kids may not mind — they may even enjoy it — if you stir some high-fiber granola into their yogurt. Others may rebel against the unexpected crunch. But Goldberg says you can often sneak a little flaxseed into yogurt, applesauce, or a smoothie without your child noticing.

Pop Some Popcorn

What kid doesn’t like popcorn? It’s rich in fiber, and as long as you avoid the heavily salted and buttered varieties, it’s pretty healthy in general as well. “You can also try making popcorn balls with dried fruits and nuts, assuming your child is old enough for these,” says Pinkos.

3 Snacks to Skip

There are some foods that tend to cause, rather than ease, constipation in children. Two particularly “binding” snacks that are often a big hit among kids are bananas and cheese. There’s no problem with either in moderation, but if your child is having trouble in the bathroom these days, you might try cutting back on the cheese sticks.

Another barrier to good digestive health: heavily processed foods. “For good digestive health, minimize your reliance on refined foods like white sugar, white flour, and white breads and pastas,” advises Goldberg.

having a Mary heart, for all the right reasons…

Don’t you wish people had last names in the Bible?  I used to think that Jesus’s last name was Christ…..and while I am guessing that might be partly true, no one seemed to think that was important…..back in the day.  People were referred to as, Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man who took the body of Jesus and placed him in the tomb.  Then there was John the Baptist, who loved locusts, honey and camping…..(well, he did live in the desert of Judea)…

But today I am talking about Mary.  Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  The Bible says that Jesus and his  disciples came to a village and Martha opened up their home to them.  Obviously there was a lot to accomplish before the men arrived and Martha began preparing immediately.

Here’s the deal….once Jesus arrived, Mary went in,  sat at His feet and listened to Him speak.  Martha, in the meantime, is cooking, scrubbing, and baking, when she looks up and can’t find her sister.  She immediately went to Jesus and says, “Lord!  Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!”  Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed, Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

In all Martha’s busyness, she lost sight of the importance of spending time with the Lord.  It wasn’t that she didn’t know what it was to enjoy His company, but she chose a different priority.

Jesus is showing Martha that our relationship with Him is to have first place above all else in life.  Both women expressed their love and care for Jesus through their actions, but Mary chose the better way.

Here are my own thoughts…….If this were today….my sister would immediately begin preparations, and would have a fantastic table set with beautiful flowers, etc!  I, however, would be in the other room, possibly laying on the couch, listening to Jesus….well, mainly hiding from my sister so I wouldn’t have to help!  After holiday meals, my sister was always in the kitchen cleaning while I moved things around on the table and pretended to be busy.  This doesn’t mean that I am “like” Mary…it just reminds me of how lazy I was and how productive my sister is!!  I couldn’t help but start laughing when I was reading this and imagined that (as Mary) I would totally have stuck out my tongue and then given Jesus my wide-eyed, angelic look.

Ooops, that totally took me in a different direction, but the point is that nothing should supersede the believer’s relationship with Christ.  And even while carring out the Lord’s work, we can lose sight of our first priority, which is becoming closer and more intimate with Christ.

I want to have Mary’s heart…..not only because she was able to get out of work….(just kidding, sorta) but Mary had a desire to have a closeness with her Lord.  THAT should be our  number one priority!

be still and know…

I am sure that in the light of the devastating earthquake in Japan, people all over the world are asking, “Why?”.  This is the great eternal question – the one we will all ask, sooner or later.

Some will say that God did not send the earthquake, but perhaps God allowed it. Others might say that it is a result of our human misbehavior…..although since earthquakes happen along fault lines waaaay below the surface of the earth, I’m not sure how this would work. OR maybe this is a sign of the Second Coming of Christ!

Matthew 24:7, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

These are natural disasters that are just the start (vs 8, “all these are the beginnings of birth pains”).  And if this is so, then we should expect even greater catastrophes.   It is only after His return that we will clearly be able to see those signs.  Either way…..He’s coming back and I want to be ready.

These disasters, however, do prove that we live in a fallen world.  And it all goes back to the Garden.  When God made the world, it was perfect.  There were no earthquakes.  There were no famines.  It was perfect in every way!  Then what happened??

Thanks, Adam.  Thanks, Eve. Thanks for having our backs…..

God gave them the choice to obey Him and be blessed, or to disobey Him and die.  Guess what they chose?  Right…..

Genesis 3:17-18, “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.”

Now all of creation is put under the curse by God, because of Adam’s sin.  So instead of the lion laying with the lamb, the lion is the lamb’s mortal enemy.  So when Adam sinned…..you sinned.  When Adam fell….you fell, and so did I.

I heard it explained like this:  Imagine there is a bus with a seat for every person on the face of the earth…it’s thousands of miles long! Adam is the bus driver and when Adam drove the bus over the cliff of disobedience, we all went with him.

BUT …. all these disasters call on us to be still.  Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.”

How wonderful to know that even when the mountains give way, we can call upon the Lord….and be still.  We will not always understand why God does what He does.  And sometimes the most spiritual thing we could say is, “I don’t know”, because it is a confession of our weakness and revelation of God’s strength.

Let’s pray for the people of Japan.  We can either hurt with God or we can hurt without God.  If we turn away, it will only be worse.  Let’s linger at the foot of the cross….and pray for us all…