Grapefruit Doughnuts {& The Gift of Hospitality}

Grapefruit Buttermilk Donuts with Candied Zest | Club 31 Women | #grapefruitIt was nine o’clock and I was sitting in my favorite white chair feeling the weariness in my body.

I was tired.

It was a long day of making sure school work got finished, nap times took place, chores got done, dinner made, and bath time completed. Somehow, I had even managed to squeeze in a quick workout for myself – which proved to be challenging since I had taken the last week off due to a cold.

As I sat there in my cozy white chair, perusing the internet half-heartily, I listened to my daughters chatter on the couch. They were going to attempt to join me in my bed that night so we could all sleep together. A sweet thought, but two kids and one adult in a queen size bed equals not enough space.

I informed them that we would be headed to bed soon. Grace disappeared upstairs for a few moments and reemerged in the living room with their Picture Bible.

I knew it was a habit of theirs to read their Bible every night before bed. Grace sat there and read to Eden about how the priests and pharisees were trying to trap Jesus by asking him if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar or not. (Matthew 22:15-17) Grace left the chapter on a cliffhanger and told Eden they would read Jesus’ answer the following night.

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

I remember thinking how clever that was of Grace to keep it a mystery. Everyone loves a little intrigue.  I know I do.

Not too much later, after our teeth were brushed and we were jammed into my bed and the lights were turned out, I asked if I had any volunteers who would like to pray. Grace eagerly said, “I will,” and proceeded to pray for so many people! All of the people we had read about in our Prayer Point magazine, and then all of the people mentioned during our women’s Bible study and during our praise and prayer time at church. I was shocked that she remembered so many names and so many specific details that had been mentioned.

Grapefruit Buttermilk Donuts with Candied Zest | Club 31 Women | #grapefruit

A Heart for People

We all said, “Amen,” and I laid there amazed at what a beautiful, godly heart she has for others. Every evening, she and her sister sit on the floor of their bedroom and read Bible stories. They have such a heart for people and love them so much. I think that is one of the things I admire the most about my almost-11-year-old daughter Grace – she sees the best in everyone.

That is such a wonderful and unique gift that the Holy Spirit has pressed upon her, and she has gladly accepted. (1 Corinthians 12:4 & 5)

As Grace’s mom, it’s a beautiful thing to witness. Not that she has arrived, but that the Spirit is clearly working through her as her father and I attempt to diligently train her in the way she should go. (Proverbs 22:6)

As I drifted off to sleep, I didn’t feel as weary as I had before. I felt rejuvenated and full of hope for my kids.

The Gift of Hospitality

I’m sure (I hope!) my kids will have other spiritual gifts as well. I’ve been showing them when the an opportunity presents itself to show the gift of hospitality.

Hospitality doesn’t always mean having people in your home. Take hospitality on the road…or right across the street!

When I made these grapefruit doughnuts last year, we had just had a snowy storm pass through. I whipped up a batch of these bright and springy doughnuts and brought them over to our neighbors’ house across the street to share.

Grapefruit Buttermilk Donuts with Candied Zest | Club 31 Women | #grapefruit

Our kids often learn by watching, and having them watch us can be one of the best ways to learn to be a servant of Christ and use those spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has entrusted them with. I tell ya, I think watching your kid blossom spiritually is one of the most beautiful things I ever witnessed.

~ Chels {Catz in the Kitchen}

*What kinds of spiritual gifts has the holy spirit entrusted to your child and how can you encourage them in it?

Grapefruit Buttermilk Doughnuts with Candied Zest
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12

And now for something completely different… Yes, these are grapefruit donuts, and yes, they will make you and your tastebuds dream of spring. Enjoy!
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  1. Collect the zest from one grapefruit. Cut four two-inch long strips of the zest from the second grapefruit, and slice them thinly. Collect three tablespoons of juice from either or both of the grapefruits.
  2. Use non stick cooking spray to coat two six-cavity donut pans.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1½ cups sugar, baking powder, ginger, and salt, and mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, canola oil, vanilla, and the zest of one grapefruit, and whisk until combined.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir.
  7. Spoon batter into pans, filling each cavity to a bit over ¾ full.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for five minutes before turning donuts out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and grapefruit juice until smooth, then set aside.
  10. In a small saucepan, combine strips of zest, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons water, and bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat to a low flame, and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Strain.
  12. Toss zest immediately in remaining unused sugar until coated.
  13. Transfer to cutting board and chop.
  14. Dip the top of each donut carefully in the glaze, then place on a wire rack glaze side up, allowing the excess to drip off. Sprinkle immediately with chopped zest.

Overnight-sausage-egg-cheese-breakfast-casserole by Catz in the KitchenTry another delicious recipe from Catz in the Kitchen:

Overnight Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole


The 8 Best Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

8 Best Things about having A Bunch of Kids

I guess I might as well come out with it.

I’m the mother of 8 children. And I love it.

This often surprises people when they learn that I have all these kids. They’ll say things like, “But you don’t look like a mother of 8 children!”

And then, occasionally,“Do you actually like having so many kids?”

I’m never sure how to answer that first one (Thank you…I think?).

The answer to the second is easier, Yes, I do.  I love it! Which some people seem to find interesting.

I could write a long list of all the things I love about having a bunch of kids, but here are some of the best . . . . 

The Best 8 Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

1.   I love the joy they bring. How their sweet faces look up at me with so much love.  The hugs. The laughter. The fellowship of family.

2.   I love all that I learn from them. They remind me to stop and wonder. They ask good questions and challenge me to think.They reveal areas in my life that I – apparently – need to work on. Ouch.

3.   I love how they have built-in friendships. If you’re bored or lonely, there’s always a buddy nearby. Someone to help with the work or someone to play a game. Someone to talk to or someone to snuggle.

4.  I love watching the older ones care for the young ones. How the teenagers get the opportunity to be selfless and put aside their own plans. The chance for them to look after the interests of these little guys—and their reward of smiles and sticky kisses.

The 8 Best Things about having A Bunch of Kids

5.   I love that I still have a young ones at home. Even if their older siblings have left home to pursue their own calling (Why do they grow up and go off on their own anyway…??).

6.   I love how much fun they are! Let’s face it, there’s nearly always a party going on around here. The little boys wake up ready and raring to go and the older girls look forward to the late-night thingYawn.

7.   I love how the little ones look up to their older siblings. For instance, our oldest son is something of a celebrity – a basic rock-star –  to our young boys whenever he comes back from college. Thankfully, he walks with God.  Could be worse, I figure.

8.   I love how they can reach the world. In ways that I can’t. Children seem to have this ability to soften even the hardest of hearts. There’s something about young people that breaks through the toughest barriers. They’re a bright light in a darkening world.

8 Best Things About Having A Bunch of Kids

So however many children you have – whether one, four, eight, or twelve – they are a gift from God, aren’t they? Children are truly a blessing.

*I’d enjoy hearing those things you love about being a mom to your children too! Share?

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

That One Question That Unlocks {The Door to Your Child’s Heart}

That One Question That Unlocks So Much

“Pray for this one,” I told my friends that I knew would pray.

It was a subtle drip of negativity coming from this child whose once-orphan wounds had threatened to be scars. Subtle enough that no one bumping up against the world outside our home would see, subtle enough to avoid what might incur discipline. (But mama’s have an eye for what brews under the surface.)

I didn’t just hear it, I felt it. The passive-aggressive drip that said less about the sibling or situation of which they were speaking and more about the torrent underneath all those words wore treads under my everyday mama-hood.

So I talked to God.

Change this one’s heart, God. You are healer, would you heal these wounds spilling up and over in front of all of us? Make this one new.

Weeks of prayers became months and I was settling in to what Nate so often calls “the long view.” It may take a decade to see this heart move. You hone your eye for the little milestones when you see the haul ahead as long.

But one day this thought came to me.

What if I made a shift? 


Love Unhinged

I’d done it before with variables that just weren’t budging. Not frequent enough for it to be second nature, but I had stories of how God moved in the one right in front of me when I started asking “what’s the issue, lodged within me?”

So over a series of days I asked Him: “what is it in me that’s adding to this child’s mess?” It’s a hard question for a mama who knows the history of her once-orphaned child’s wounds. I could list the perpetrators — people and time and loss. I live the consequences of life’s big hits on this child. I’ve studied them. Did I really play a part in all this negativity? This child couldn’t be more different than how I walk.

I wrestled through all those reasons not to ask, while still remembering my history. This wasn’t the first time I played a role, subconsciously.

And just as soon as I asked, I knew.

I needed to love different.

I needed to love unhinged.

This one was craving a love from me that required nothing of them to get it. They needed belly-tickles and a game of chase and time without instruction or correction, but expectation-less love. They needed my delight, not my dutiful kiss or my quick hug because that’s what mommies do.

This child needed to see that spark in my eye as I looked into theirs — the kind of spark a mama can’t muster on her own.

I’d been trying. Striving. Mimicking love. But in all of my effort, I’d neglected to see my own heart’s failings.


Something in Me

Two of us sinners in a relationship make two of us culpable. Always.

When I spend all my energy searching out the flaws in another, God’s love — through me — gets stunted. This reconciliatory love can not move towards its full expression in this child or in me if I am unbending.

And I was unbending.

Isn’t it easy? Especially with a child. We study their gaps and wait for their healing — all in the name of God’s timing — when maybe, just maybe He’s waiting on us to ask “what is it in me?”

I spent nearly a decade of my life avoiding this question. It spanned most all of my relationships. Something ingrained in human nature leads us to believe that this question is the death-trap. We’re going down when we take eyes off of them, and ask Him for a lens on us. Justice is when their wrong is righted or their hurt is finally healed. It can’t possibly be me, here.

“What is it in me, Father?” digs my grave.  Death-trap it is, I suppose. The kind of death that invites life.

It is this very question that’s putting an end to years of this child’s severed story bubbling up and over the rest of us.

I asked. I heard.

There was something in me.

So I repent and stumble towards turning in the form of words and belly-tickles and games of chase. I ask God to give me that spark in my eye that this child will know is just for them. I ask for an unnatural love, imparted. I bend.

And this kid? This one with history and hurt and a dozen reasons to be hindered for life, they begin to show signs of change. Friends, my stuck-child is getting unstuck. Surprise hugs and unsolicited kind words and that note on my desk that read: “I love you Mommy and I know you love me.” My child has spiked a giggle.


The other day I heard songs from the kitchen — from this one whose known a new form of mama’s delight — and I knew it was from God to me: never stop asking the question your flesh most resists. When you go low, with them I am lifted up.

For the mother, the wife, the daddy, the pastor, the co-worker, the sister, the best friend and the neighbor: when was the last time you asked Him — when faced with that rift in another — what is it in me?


Sara Hagerty, EveryBitterThingIsSweet

For Your Continued Pursuit: Matthew 5:5 | Psalm 25:9 | Matthew 7:1-5 | James 4:6-10 | 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 | Matthew 11:29-30

Photographs compliments of Mandie Joy.

The Most Loving Thing I’ve Done For Our Marriage

The Most Loving Thing I've Done For Our Marriage

I’d like to think that there’s been a whole lot of loving done over the years.

I mean, so much can happen over decades of marriage, right? Good times. Hard times. Big sacrifices. Small ones. I’ve loved him through it all.

But what would be the most loving thing?

Would it be that gorgeous September morning when I vowed to love him “until death do us part”? Loving him.

Or maybe when I gave birth to our first child? The pain. The joy. Loving him.

Or maybe the 5th child . . . or the 8th? Loving him.

When I followed him across the country—and then back again? Loving him.

Or perhaps when I wept and prayed over him as I watched his vital signs drop in that cold hospital room. Oh, please God, desperately loving him.

Yes, lots of loving over the years. But the most loving thing? I’ve thought long and hard over this question.

The most loving thing I’ve done as his wife is to seek Christ.

That really would have to be it. Nothing has made a bigger difference in our relationship than my walk with God.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, when I first married him. You see, I was still young and something of a hopeful romantic. We had each other and that was what mostly mattered—him, me, and love. I just knew it was going to be beautiful.

And it has been beautiful.

But there were some things I didn’t anticipate we’d go through together.

I didn’t know then that there would be so many challenges. That we’d walk through grief, frustration, disappointment, and times when I could hardly see straight.

There was so much I didn’t know . . . .

Oh, and not only things about him and our life together, but about myself. I didn’t understand what kind of person I really was. I was determined to be the best wife I could be, but it was more difficult than I’d counted on.

I discovered I was more selfish than I thought. More stubborn. More moody and more self-serving.

I found that my determination to be the “most loving wife” wasn’t enough. I needed Christ. I needed to seek God with all my heart. I needed to let Him work in me and change me. I needed to trust Him with our marriage.

The Most Loving Thing I've Done for Our Marriage

If you want to love your spouse? 

The most loving thing you can do is . . .  

Love your God. Seek Him and devote your life to Him.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 4:29)

Spend time in His Word. Soak it up and listen to what He is saying to you as you read through it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps. 119:105)

Go to Him in prayer. Thanking God and praising Him. Ask Him to do a work in you and in your marriage.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6).

Walk in the Spirit. And not your own strength. Be filled with the Spirit of God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)

If you ever find yourself wondering what you can do to love your Beloved better? To improve your marriage?

Then I’d tell you this: spend time with your God. Seek Him. Walk with Him. Love Him.

It’s the most loving thing you can do for your marriage.

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

To My Daughter: A Good Man is Worth Waiting For

To My Daughter - A Good Man is Worth Waiting For

It’s not easy being young.

Especially when you’re a girl and eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Hoedown on Saturday night.

She had no trouble picking out a blouse or borrowing a cowboy hat from a friend.

But finding the perfect denim skirt? That was another matter.

Our daughter looked up at me with pleading eyes, “Please, Mama, can we go thrift shopping for a skirt? I have the outfit all pictured in my mind. Please….?”

Oh, how I wanted to help her out.

I mean, on the one hand, it wasn’t a big deal, right? Just another Saturday night event at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.

The Ranch of Rescued Dreams.

But then again, it kinda is . . . when you’re a fun-loving, dreamy girl. And it’s not been so very long that I don’t remember what that’s like.

So I honestly wanted to do this for her. But I couldn’t.

My day was more-than-filled and I couldn’t see how to pull it off. I tried to soften the blow and let her down easy. It’s true, earlier in the week I had told her I’d take her. But what could I do . . . ? Sometimes plans change.

I was searching for sympathetic words for the dear girl when I heard him speak up from across the room.

“I’ll take her,” he simply said.

That would be her dad talking.

We both glanced over at him – somewhat surprised.

“Umm…Honey? You’re so sweet to offer, but we’re talking thrift shopping here. And this is a work day for you. And you have a deadline to meet and . . . .” I had so many reasons why it didn’t make sense. Why he shouldn’t do it.

But it was already a done-deal.

He was grabbing his keys and they were going.

I watched the two of them drive off and I wondered if she’d always remember that day with her dad. If someday she’d look back at the old photos and remember searching nearly every thrift shop in our small western town. The perfect blue-jean skirt finally showing up at the last consignment store.

Happy smiles and holding hands. Daddy and daughter.

It wouldn’t be the first time I’d fallen in love with that man. But watching him drive away with that girl of ours had me spinning again.

A Good Man is Worth Waiting For

Funny what love can look like.

When I first met my husband, I thought love looked like a tall, dark, and handsome man. Then it became a long, passionate kiss and deep conversations that went late into the night. Later on it meant holding a new baby in our arms and tucking sleepy children into their beds.

Now love looked like a busy man taking the day off work to rescue the small dreams of a young girl. Who is quickly becoming a woman.

I often thought of them – those two whom I love so dearly – throughout that day.

And I prayed that our daughter would someday find just such a man. A good man who understands the hopes and dreams of a woman. The kind of guy who’s willing to look after his girl. Who cares about her heart.

A Good Man is Worth Waiting For

Hold out, my Darling, for that kind of man because he’s worth waiting for.

I pray this for all our dear daughters. For mine and for yours too.

I pray that she will wait for a good man. That she’ll know what love really looks like.

I pray that he’ll be one who loves Christ and loves her too.

Sacrificially and faithfully. Tenderly. A good man.

Yes, wait for him. 

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce {& Sharing Love}

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce | Club 31 Women | #breakfast

That time in the evening when my family starts to assemble in the kitchen is always one of my favorites times of the day.

Josh has come home from work and is often beside me in the kitchen helping me prepare our meal, and the kids are scurrying around grabbing placemats to set the table, assisting with dinner, and helping Christian (our two year old) decide which bib he wants to wear (because he’s opinionated).

We thank God for His many blessings before we dig in, and then the conversation goes from this to that.

We start off by talking about the day, and at least a few times a week, we go over a couple of tests Josh graded for Grace. As a family we explore what she did right, where she went wrong, and we all learn together.

Recently, we received a little magazine from Samaritan’s Purse called Prayer Point and have begun reading it after we’re halfway through our meal. The magazine focuses on highlighting areas around the world and specific people to pray for. We’re given their story and a picture of them so we know who we’re reading about, and it’s become a beloved event every week.

I’ve loved getting to know these believers and how I can specifically pray for them. Even more, I’ve loved how my kids have taken to remembering their names, asking questions about where they live, and what their environments are like.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the day of love.

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.” But He piggybacked on that commandment and said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 36-40Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce | Club 31 Women | #breakfast

Share Some Love

In the same way that Valentine’s Day should merely be a day to celebrate the love we show year-round, we should also love our neighbors daily.

Not just the neighbors next door, or the neighbors in our community, but also our neighbors from afar. Sometimes we can show our love by donating money, sometimes by donating time and volunteering, and sometimes simply by sharing encouragement and praying.

When we feel like we have nothing else to offer, we can always offer up our prayers. And when we know specific needs that we can picture with a name and face, I think the prayer is even more heartfelt (also, I think, easier for our children to understand and visualize).

You can also share some love with your sweetie by serving these Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce for breakfast in bed Saturday morning . . . or perhaps serve a Valentine’s Day Brunch. . . and invite one of the widows in your church or neighborhood over to share in the meal . . . or your kids could make personalized Valentine’s cards and give a bouquet of flowers away!

*This Valentine’s Day, what are some ways you can show Christ’s love to your neighbors?

~ Chels {Catz in the Kitchen}

(For anyone who would like a copy of the Prayer Point magazine I referenced above, I found a form on Samaritan’s Purse’ UK website where you should be able to sign up.)

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce | Club 31 Women | #breakfast

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 20 pancakes

Looking for a healthier pancake with a natural syrup free of added sugars but still sweet enough to satisfy your breakfast cravings? You’ve come to right place!
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Strawberry Sauce
  • 16 oz strawberries, quartered
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to warm (170 to 200 degrees).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another large bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla.
  3. Preheat a large non-stick griddle or skillet to medium heat (medium-low on a gas range).
  4. Gently stir or whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. The batter will be lumpy.
  5. Add a small amount of vegetable oil to the griddle or skillet and spread it around evenly.
  6. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to ladle the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Flip the pancake when the top is bubbly and it is golden brown on the bottom.
  7. Cook until the other side is golden brown. Hold on a cookie sheet in the oven until the entire batch is ready.
  8. Serve stacked topped with strawberry sauce.
Strawberry Sauce
  1. Puree strawberries in a blender to a smooth, slightly chunky consistency.
  2. Heat the puree in a small saucepan over low heat, until they are just warm.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and maple syrup and serve immediately.