Monthly Archives: February 2014

An Afternoon Pick-Me-Up {My Favorite Cup of Coffee}

{Simply because it’s Friday, and I feel like being a bit light-hearted today, I’m sharing a lifestyle post. So kick your feet up and grab a hot cuppa, because we’re discussing one of my favorite indulgences … coffee.} 

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

It hits me every day around the same time … the afternoon slump. As the hands of the clock near 2 pm, the exhaustion sets in. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have toddlers, and I tend to follow their schedule (read: I need a nap too!); or maybe it’s simply that we operate with such frantic busyness in our society. Whatever the cause, nearly every day I am in desperate need of a pick-me-up just a few hours into the afternoon.

If I can resist the urge to strap the kids into their carseats for a quick drive to the nearest coffeehouse, I’ll make a cup at home using the pour-over method. A simple, unfussy mode of brewing coffee, the pour-over method results in a robust cup without a lot of bitterness. But it’s not just the flavor that has made this one of my favorite methods of coffee preparation, it’s also about the ritual. The whistle of the tea kettle, the careful pouring of hot water over the beans, the sound of coffee percolating into my cup below. It’s all very soothing. My kids could be running rampant with toys strewn about the floor, but this five-minute preparation and the resulting cup is a little personal escape.

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Here’s how to do it:

Fit a paper filter inside your pour-over device. I use this one I picked up for just $6.99 at World Market. This one also gets great reviews. Run water through the filter and the pour-over brewer to rinse; and discard the rinse water. This step isn’t necessary, but it will eliminate any paper lint and prevent the filter from falling in on itself when you pour the hot water. Scoop fresh-ground coffee beans into the filter. (I use approximately 2 heaping tablespoons per 10 ounces. Adjust the amount of beans to your liking.) Stack the pour-over device atop your coffee mug.

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Meanwhile, heat water in a kettle until it just boils, then pull the kettle off the heat for 30 seconds. Pour a small amount over your coffee grinds, being careful to saturate the coffee. Set the kettle down and inhale the aroma. No really, it’s delightful! After a few seconds, pour the remaining water over the coffee until it nearly fills the filter. Let it drain into the cup below with a rhythmic percolating sound. Add cream or sugar if desired, and enjoy!

The Perfect Afternoon Pick-me-up, perfecting the pour-over method | Faith and Composition

Et voila! Your perfect afternoon pick me up.
Do you have a ritual afternoon break? If it involves coffee, how do you take your cup?

Faith and Composition

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For the Days You Feel Small

For the Days You Feel Small | Faith and Composition

Tiny Legos litter the floor, and miniature dinner plates adorn my table. I match pint-sized socks and fold little pairs of pants. My world is often defined by the small things: small toys, small people, small moments … and sometimes, the monotony of it all makes me feel a bit small too. I wash miniature hands, wipe little faces, dry tot-sized tears, feed pint-sized tummies. When my day consists of an endless array of little, menial tasks, and the scope of my influence seems to stretch only within the confines of this home, I have a tendency to feel small and insignificant indeed.

Maybe you do too. Perhaps the tasks that occupy your days seem inconsequential, your influence feels limited, your worth negligible. You may be a mom to little ones, a college student bound by class work and tests, a single adult grinding away at a mundane job, an empty-nester with an idle home. … You have hopes of rising to a noble calling, dreams of achieving a great task, and yet you feel ever.so.small.

I know those feelings; I’m often there myself. But here’s what I also know. Greatness in God’s economy isn’t defined by grand human achievements. For where the world sees small, God sees an opportunity to reveal the width and breadth of His glory. 

For the Days You Feel Small | Faith and Composition

The Word is full of small people and small offerings being used by the Lord in mighty ways. A little boy with three small fish and five little loaves, an insignificant Jewish woman chosen to save her people, a young shepherd with a sling, a manger and a tiny baby sent to save the world.

And then there’s Gideon … small, insignificant Gideon. He was thrashing wheat in a winepress, fearful of the threat of the neighboring Midianites when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me?” Gideon replied. Surely thinking: Mighty warrior, who me? You must be mistaken. Gideon’s response indicates that his vision was bound by his present experience, but God’s greeting reveals that He sees beyond our circumstances. 

And so the Lord answers: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

Again, Gideon answers, “Pardon me, my Lord … but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:15)

He was the least of the weakest clan; he was small, inconsequential Gideon.

But the Lord answers him, “I will be with you … ” Because it’s not about Gideon and his ability, it’s about God.

God is in this business of small, for when He shows up in the midst of our insignificant situations and does mighty, can’t-be-denied, miraculous things, He gets the glory. A shepherd boy slays a giant warrior, a small army marches around a fortified city and topples its walls, a stuttering man who was once hidden in a basket as a baby delivers a nation, an unwed virgin teenager births the son of God.

And then Gideon … weak, small, timid Gideon who used a fleece to test God twice … he ends up defeating an army of thousands with a mere three hundred men BECAUSE he trusted God.

I wonder if you ever feel like Gideon? When your days drag on, your tasks seem menial, and your calling is concealed by your current circumstances. When you feel small, the least of the weakest, remember that God shows up in the small. He uses the weak, the timid and the insignificant to reveal His own glory. He called the weakest man from the least powerful clan to deliver a nation with a mere three hundred men.

So today, tomorrow, if you feel insignificant, your sacrifices unseen, your tasks mundane, “do not despise these small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10), for it is in the small circumstances and weak moments that God’s glory is revealed, His strength made perfect.

 “… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

Faith and Composition
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Laundry and Grace

Laundry and Grace | Faith and CompositionIf you’ve been reading F&C for a while, you may have seen this. But since many of you are new to the blog, I wanted to share a reprint from the archives. This post originally appeared here on October 18, 2013. I hope it blesses you, dear friends!

It sits on the baby’s rocker in a tangled, wrinkled mess. That pile of clean laundry I pulled from the dryer three days ago, that pile of laundry I’ve yet to find the time or the strength to fold. Just one room over, the boy’s bed is stripped bare. A midnight potty accident necessitated the stripping of sheets and the cramming of textiles into the wash machine.

There’s a pile on our closet floor and a filled-to-the-brim hamper in the girls’ room. It never ends. This wearing of clothes, dirtying them with the stain of soil and the stench of sweat, then drenching them in water to be pulled out clean. The cycle repeats, on and on.

And that’s the thing about motherhood, it goes on and on. This feeding of mouths, this calming of fears, the spit-up stains, the late-night wakings, the dirty diapers and the potty training, the disciplining and the redirecting, the encouraging and the loving.

It’s hard, humbling, holy. And sometimes it feels like too much.

Where is the verse that says: “Thou art a mother to three kids five and under. I will endow thou with super powers.” It’s not in there … I’ve looked.

But then I look harder, and I see what is in there … a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things through the power of an all-mighty God. A regular girl who saved her nation, a fisherman who got out of a boat and walked on water, a tax collector who encountered a blinding light and the living God and brought the message of grace to the world. Ordinary people, indwelt by an extraordinary God.

That Jewish girl reminds that me I was brought here for such a time as this, and the fisherman proves the impossible is possible, and that tax collector encourages me to run the race with perseverance. And my God? He takes the soiled and the dirty, and He washes it clean with the blood of His son. And He steps into the magnificent and the mundane, and He whispers into the depths of my soul that His grace is sufficient for me.

The baby wakes in our bed, where I laid her for her nap, and I pick her up to find she’s soiled her diaper, and there’s poop on our sheets. Another stripping, another washing, another pile of tangled, wrinkled fresh-from-the-dryer sheets. Yes, it goes on and on, and there are times I feel like I’m failing, but with the right perspective, this laundry, this beautiful mess is all a reminder of the sufficiency of His grace.

Sufficiency for salvation, sufficiency for life, sufficiency for motherhood.

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!” Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!

A Recipe for Preserving Children

A Recipe for Preserving Children | Faith and Composition
My mother was recently sorting through some old boxes when she came across a letter dated July 12, 1970. It was addressed to my mom and was penned by her grandmother, my great grandmother. The contents of the letter contain a recipe for “Preserving Children,” which was published in the July 11, 1970 issue of a local publication. As the promise of warmer weather and longer days draws near, I adore the whimsical advice in this delightful recipe. I think you will too!

A Recipe for Preserving Children

1 large grassy field
6 children
3 dogs
Narrow strip of brook with pebbles
Hot sun
Flowers
Deep blue sky

Mix the children with the dogs and empty into the field, stirring constantly. Sprinkle the field with the flowers; pour the brook gently over the pebbles. Cover all with a deep blue sky and bake in the hot sun. When the children are well browned, they may be removed. The children will then be just right for setting away to cool in the tub.

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a richly blessed weekend.

Faith and Composition

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When Competition Divides, Let Grace Unite

When Competition Divides, Let Grace Unite {Thoughts on the stay-at-home mom and the working mom} | Faith and Composition
There’s a battle waging. And if you’re a mom, you’ve undoubtedly felt it. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times it’s covertly hinted at in whispers or jeers.

It shows up in our Facebook feeds, it’s splashed across mom blogs, it’s discussed in parenting magazines, and it even showed up in the comment feed here. A few of you alluded to the battle; some of you came right out and called it by name.

And you know what? It breaks my heart. There’s a heavy tension that exists between the stay-at-home mom and the working mom. It saddens me, and I think it saddens many of you too.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I gave up a great job as a magazine editor and writer so I could stay home with my children because I desired to do so, and my husband and I felt that was the best arrangement for our family. It works well for us. I wrote When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees from my own personal perspective. But please hear me, the message of that post, the heart of it is for all mothers!

The demands of mothering, the daily battles, the unseen self sacrifices, the late nights and early mornings, the tears muffled by the sounds of the shower, the worn-out prayer knees … these struggles don’t know the boundaries of jobs and titles. Whether or not you clock in for a job elsewhere isn’t the point. The fact is you never get the opportunity to punch the time clock for motherhood. You are always a mom; and the demands of that sacred role are shared by all women who have the privilege of wearing that title.

And yet in discussion forums, in comment threads, in conversations muttered beneath low whispers, battle lines are drawn between stay-at-home moms and working moms. We throw stones and cast judgment from both sides of the fight while a plank sits lodged in our own eye.

Why? In a fallen world that devalues motherhood and is seeking to erode families, why do we contribute to the battle? This mothering of little ones is hard enough without us adding fuel to the fire.

Friend, here’s what I know. Whether you stay home with your children, work from home, work away from home or even hold down two or three jobs to provide for the needs of your your children, you are my fellow comrade in the trenches, and I’m in your corner. You are my sister in this incredible responsibility of raising the next generation, and I support you and commend you. You are courageous, strong, seen, loved.

Because this role of motherhood is hard enough without the added tension of competition and criticism from within, let’s cast aside slander and shame. Instead, let us affirm and encourage one another. Let us speak life and infuse hope.

When a materialistic society that values titles and position sneers at a stay-at-home mom, let’s rise to her defense and affirm the intrinsic value and can’t-put-a-price-on-it worth of her job. And when a self-righteous attitude casts judgment on a working mom, let’s come alongside her to quiet the voices of criticism and reaffirm her worth as a mother.

This role of motherhood is glorious and gritty, exhilarating and exhausting. It’s holy work, drawing us to our knees, but it need not draw us into competition.

For “Where the spirit of The Lord is there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) Let’s loose the chains of bondage and bring freedom in place of condemnation. Let’s drop the stones, let’s quiet the judgments. And when competition threatens to divide, let’s invite grace to unite. 

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Like what you see here? Then you’ll love my first-ever children’s book, Bruce the Brave. Now available on Amazon

For more content like this, connect with me on FacebookInstagramand Twitter! To receive more encouraging posts AND get a free printable, enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!” Be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation and the link to your free printable. You can also follow F&C on BlogLovin’

All content is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. If you like F&C content, I’d be tickled pink if you would share. Just please include a link to the original post. Thank you!