Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Glimpse into Teaching Second Grade Sunday School

In high school, I always helped in Children’s Church back home. When I was a senior, I was the Jr. High choir pianist and study hall monitor. During college, I counseled at summer camp and loved working with the teen girls (especially the junior high age). The last couple of years, my husband and I, along with two of our best friends, taught fourth grade Sunday School at church before taking a 6 month hiatus from teaching.

This September, they had a need in the 1st and 2nd grade classes. Now there’s an age that I haven’t had a lot of experience with, but they needed help, so I told them I’d be willing. I was a little nervous, but boy, am I glad I did. These kids are SO much fun! At age 6 and 7, everything is new and exciting! There is so much energy in the room with 12-18 kids each week! And, let me tell you, these kids are smart…not to mention funny too! Here’s a glimpse:

A few weeks ago, we were learning about God being our Creator. We took praises instead of prayer requests and one little girl raised her hand to praise God for “dogs and cats.” Another little boy raised his hand, “and Bats!” Another boy raised his hand, “and Rats!” (At this point they were just rhyming.) Finally, another shouted out, “And Cockroaches!!” My eyes got big and I smiled reluctantly, wrinkling my nose. I told them I would have a hard time thanking God for cockroaches and that I thought they must be part of the curse. Just being honest.

We took a few more praises for things like Mommies and Daddies, homes and schools, friends and family, and then we bowed our heads to pray. I began, “Dear God, Thank you for all of your creation, for dogs and cats,” and as I paused, I heard a little voice whisper, “and bats and rats and cockroaches.” I nearly laughed aloud in the middle of the prayer, as I continued, “…and all of your creation…”

I asked the kids about why we can thank God for trees, expecting answers like, “They’re pretty” or “They give us shade.” Instead, I get a 2nd grade science lesson on how the trees take in the carbon dioxide that we breath out and give us oxygen to breath in. I told you these kids were smart!

A couple weeks later, we were talking about the 10 plagues. We got to the Plague of Frogs, and one of the boys said, “They could’ve just eaten frog legs for dinner.” Smiling, I said, “But there were LOTS and LOTS of frogs! You couldn’t walk without almost squishing one under your feet. And, besides, you can only eat so many frog legs before you’re full.” His response (with a thoughtful expression on his face): “Hmmm. That’s true.”

Along with the Plagues, we were talking about how God is Almighty and our might is limited. We put 10 bricks in double-lined reusable grocery bags and tried to pick them up. Of course they each had to try! Most of them were able to get it a few inches off the ground, but it definitely tested their strength. The illustration took a little longer than I expected (since they all wanted to try and I had only factored in one helper), but several weeks later, they’re still associating bricks with the 10 Plagues and God’s Mighty Power!

Today we learned about God being our Provider. One really fun thing about this age is that several of them have heard quite a few Bible stories, but none of them have heard them all yet. So when we come across a story from the Bible that they haven’t heard, and their eyes light up, and they are in awe of God, it’s just amazing! One of the stories today was about God providing oil and flour for the widow and her son, and how the oil should have run out, but it just kept being refilled in the widow’s pot. With big eyes, they ask, “How did that happen?!” And the only answer is, “God did it! He provided for the widow and her son. Isn’t that amazing?!” Yes, indeed.

With talking about God’s provision, we learned that God “Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). I asked them what the word “Provider” meant, and proceeded to give them a mini Latin lesson, which they really enjoyed: “r” at the end means “one who,” “-vide” is like “video” which means “to see,” and “pro” means “before or above.” So, God being our Provider means he sees things before we do and gives them to us.

We named the things we needed so we could come to church today: clothes, food, water, and air (to name a few). The “air” portion brought up the discussion of the cycle between CO2 from humans to plants and O2 from plants to humans, and the “water” portion brought up “H2O,” so we had a mini biology/chemistry lesson too. I had drawn a diagram on the board. At the end of class, I noticed that one of the kids had come up to the board and written “+ 100% CHRIST” next to my drawing! 🙂

Chalkboard Illustration

Last week was a review lesson and we sang a few songs instead of just one. The kids really got into it, so I decided to start singing a few more songs each week, still repeating the same handful so they can really learn them well. We started “We Gather Together” today, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Most of them didn’t know it, so we literally gathered around the piano to sing it as we closed class. What a blessing to have the little voices all around me, preaching at me to ask God for His blessing and return thanks for His deliverance and provision.

All-Natural Chung’s in the Freezer Section

Here’s a new All-Natural Chinese option I found in the freezer section at Publix this week: Chung’s All-Natural! We tried the Teriyaki Chicken (it was okay, but had a few too many red peppers for me), the Vegetable Egg Rolls (very good!) and the Vegetable Pot Stickers (little dumplings that are also quite good). The freezer packages come with little individual sauce packets as well!

The Egg Rolls came in a box of four and each pair was wrapped together, and the Pot Stickers came with a resealable bag, so you could easily stretch it to make two meals (like we did). Better for you than take-out but every bit as fast. The Egg Rolls were the most time-consuming, and they only took 12 minutes in the oven (3 minutes if you use the microwave, but we don’t own one). Dinner is served!

This is the full box of Teriyaki Chicken, half box of Vegetable Egg Rolls and half box of Vegetable Pot Stickers (chopsticks not included; fortunately, we keep them on hand).

Weekly Recipe Ideas and Meal Plan

For the last several months I’ve been sharing recipe ideas and creating a meal plan for the Milk and Honey Organics blog (The Beehive Buzz). I’ve decided I’m going to start posting the ideas and meal plan on here as well each Friday. I hope you enjoy this!

This Week’s Basket: Grape Tomatoes, Butternut Squash, Cucumbers, Kale, Microgreens, Lemons, Bartlett Pears, Red Potatoes, White Mushrooms, Baby Spinach, Valencia Oranges, Granny Smith Apples.

This Week’s Recipe Ideas:

The simplest way to eat butternut squash is to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and your favorite herb (I like rosemary, sage or thyme), and roast cut side up at 450F for 45 minutes. Once it’s cooked, you can store it in the refrigerator for about a week and add it to various dishes or reheat as a side item.

Last night, I made “Thanksgiving Soup” by adding 1 ½ c. of cooked butternut squash to 1 can of organic chicken broth, 2 c. of cooked whole wheat spaghetti, and ½ can of whole berry jellied cranberry. Add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Heat through and serve hot.

For More Recipes, check out the Recipe Archives Page on M&H’s Beehive Buzz blog. And here’s a simple, budget-friendly meal plan:

Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Resource: 15 Minute Marriage Makeover by Dustin Reichmann

15 Minute Marriage Makeover
is a 98-page e-Book by Dustin Reichmann that provides 28 days of topics to discuss or activities to do with your spouse. I purchased it as part of an e-Book package deal a while back and filed it under “Read Again!” It only takes 15 minutes a day (on most days). You can read each chapter together or read it separately ahead of time and discuss it during your scheduled Couple Time. Well-written and practical, 15 Minute Marriage Makeover was such an encouragement!

Here’s an overview of the Table of Contents from FitMarriage’s site:

Each Week has its own chapter; each Day has its own section to read with three main parts: Today’s Lesson, Today’s Couple Time Task, and Today’s Tips. Most days only require a 15 minute commitment. Once a week, there’s a date night (or Extra Couple Time) written into the chapter. You still have something to discuss; they just encourage you to take longer than 15 minutes at least once a week.

Life gets busy and it’s easy to let date night fall by the wayside, but I encourage you to bring it back on a regular basis, whether you have kids or not. Don’t let the busyness of life allow your relationship with your spouse to take a back seat. Oh, and if you think you’re just too busy, you may be encouraged by this recent post.

The 15 Minute Marriage Makeover is available for $17 from Purchase here and you’ll receive an email with a link for immediate download. If you’re still not sure, view a free sample of the book here. is about helping busy couples stay fit and grow together (instead of apart) in their relationships. They also have How-To Videos for various exercises as well as a fitness program (Thrive90) that will help you prepare for completing the P90X program (popular Beach Body exercise DVD set that’s incredible and intense).

I hope you enjoy this book. And whether you read it all or not, purpose to spend quality time with your spouse today. Plan a special date night soon: just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to stop dating! Aid or Addiction?!

Pinterest is an online profile that can link to your Facebook or Twitter accounts and let you save (aka “pin”) things in groups (aka “boards”). It’s literally a virtual bulletin board (or boards). It can be extremely helpful with meal planning, finding recipes, cute pictures or quotes, or finding DIY instructions on how to build or craft something. Here’s a snapshot of my Pinterest profile to give you an idea:

As helpful as this site may be, caution is necessary, as it can also be addicting…VERY addicting! You may start out by saying, “Oh, I’ll just see what my friends have pinned today,” and three hours later, you realize, “Oh my word, I now have 3 boards full of recipe ideas and 15 minutes to get dinner on the table for my family!”

You can search what “Pinners you follow” have pinned recently, see “Everything” that everyone on the site has pinned recently, narrow your search by category or even key word. Here’s an example, including the list of current key categories:

You can let someone else know you “like” something, “pin” to your own custom “boards,” share on Facebook, or just browse. If you’re searching “Everything,” it’s important to note that they can’t control everything everyone links to this host, so some things may not be G rated; so, it’s probably not the best site to let your kids play on, but it can be a good resource.

Some standard definitions of

And finally, 

The Noisy Rabbit Produce Pick-Up in Greenville, SC

Here’s a new great resource in the Greenville, SC, area: The Noisy Rabbit. My friend Rachel Siglin started getting her produce here a few weeks ago and has really been enjoying it. She and her husband and one of their neighbors split the basket each week, so it’s only half as expensive for each family. It’s not organic, but it’s still produce, and heaven knows we could all use more of that in our diets. Here’s what she has to say about her experience with The Noisy Rabbit:

“Pickup for Noisy Rabbit is once a week at one of their many Greenville locations.  Each member is supplied with a basket to bring each week.  Produce is fresh and they supply a good variety.  One of my favorite aspects is the more unusual items like rutabaga, avocado, various peppers, and pineapple.  Even with splitting my basket, I often have more produce than I can use in a week, but I don’t have to feel bad even if something does go bad since I’m only paying $7.50 a week plus the bi-yearly $15 registration fee.  Another benefit is that grocery trips have been minimized so I’m not seeing all those ‘extras’ at the store that seem to end up in my basket every shopping trip. BTW–the samples below are whole baskets before we split them.”

Join on Facebook and Twitter!

My Journey To Lean is taking new steps and branching out! I am excited to announce that we officially have a Facebook Page ( and a Twitter account (@MyJourneyToLean)! You can view both on the side bar of the blog and we’d love to have you join the Journey by following one or both of these groups! And if you want to be the first to know about new posts, sign up using the email subscription button on your left side bar!

Also, and this may be the most exciting part for me personally, My Journey To Lean now has a dedicated domain at! Don’t worry if you already have a bookmark for the WordPress blog–it will still direct you here.

If you have your own blog or website and want to share My Journey to Lean, please use the image above and link to I have reworked the MJTL banner to fit into a square for others to use as a quick button or badge. If you don’t remember what each of the pictures represent, check out the blog post about The Inspiration Behind the Banner.

Thanks for following My Journey To Lean and Enjoy the Journey! ~Melissa

The Party Dress Magazine and Blog

I stumbled upon an amazing blog that is affiliated with a magazine called The Party Dress. It has wonderful ideas for themed parties, like the Popcorn Party pictured below, and it’s filled with beautiful pictures and tantalizing recipes that would make Martha Stewart drool. Check it out!

Picture from

We love hosting themed parties! One of our favorites is a Book Exchange party. Everyone brings a wrapped book that they love and want to share (no pranks allowed, unless you want to). Then we follow white elephant rules for the exchange. It’s so much fun!

In addition to the book exchange, we theme the food and ask everyone to bring something to share (which takes a lot of stress and cost off of you as the host). My friends Rachel & Dave have done roasting parties (bring something to roast on the fire; bonfire and coffee provided) and a flat bread party (bring something to top flat bread: sauces, dips, spreads, etc.). At our last book party, we asked everyone to bring a healthful hors d’oeuvre to share. And this next one is an Irish Pub Party theme!

What themed parties have you thrown (or attended) that were a big success with the guests?!

“Full Busy vs. Empty Busy” by Glynnis Whitwer and “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman

I’ve been receiving Proverbs 31’s daily devotionals for women  for some time now. They’ve been a regular source of encouragement, edification, and rebuke always at just the time I need them.

Have you ever felt so busy and yet so under accomplished at the same time? Ever felt like you were a hamster on a wheel, running and running yet going nowhere? Well, you’re not alone.

Check out Glynnis Whitwer’s recent devotional called “Full Busy vs. Empty Busy.” It was a real encouragement to me and I hope it will be to all you busy women out there too. And if you like that, check out Glynnis’ blog or sign up for P31’s daily email devotionals.

In closing, here’s a song I heard on the radio the other day that might also be an encouragement: Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Everything You Do” (lyrics below).

“You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
For the 15th time today, 
Matching up socks,
Sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away.
You put a baby on your hip,
Color on your lips, and head out the door.
And while I may not know you,
I bet I know you wonder sometimes,
‘Does it matter at all?’
Well, let me remind you,
‘It all matters just as long as you do
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
‘Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
In every little thing you do.’
“Maybe you’re that guy with the suit and tie;
Maybe your shirt says your name.
You may be hooking up mergers, cooking up burgers,
But at the end of the day,
Little stuff, big stuff, in-between stuff,
God sees it all the same,
And while I may not know you,
I bet I know you wonder sometimes,
‘Does it matter at all?’
Well, let me remind you,
‘It all matters just as long as you do
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
‘Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
In every thing that you do.’
“Well, maybe you’re sitting in math class, 
Or maybe on a mission in the Congo,
Maybe you’re working at the office,
Singing along with the radio,
Maybe you’re dining at a five star,
Or feeding orphans in Myanmar,
Anywhere and everywhere that you are, 
Whatever you do, it all matters.
So do what you do and don’t ever forget to do…
Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
‘Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace…
With every move that you make
In every little thing you do.’

Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery in Greenville, SC

My friend Rachel told me about this new all-natural/organic store, The Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery. I had a few minutes one Saturday and decided to check it out. Turns out, it’s right outside of downtown Greenville, close to where my sister lives, so it’s convenient if I’m ever on my way to or from her place to see her and the nephews.

I picked up some local ground lamb and organic garlic from the grocery part of the store, then bought a slice of their tomato basil quiche at the cafe as I was heading out. It’s such a quaint little stop on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Grab an all-natural or organic snack from the Cafe and rest your legs at the picnic bench outside before finishing your hike or bike ride.

The other day, my sister posted the following about a little “Swamp Rabbit Cafe” moment at their house that I thought you’d enjoy: “So, I ran out fresh for packing lunches for the boys and decided to run to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery for apples and dried cranberries. Yes, they’re open early!! =) Picked up warm blueberry scones for the guys. And when I asked JE if he’d like one, he looked at it and said these words: ‘Oh, you are so loving!’ It was adorable. =)”

The Cafe & Grocery is open Monday through Saturday 7AM to 7PM and Sunday 8AM to 7PM. Located near Mount Calvary Baptist Church, at 205 Cedar Lane Road, Greenville, SC 29611, just north of mile marker 31.5 on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.