Archive | August, 2014

Worth Repeating {8/25/14}

26 Aug

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I’ve been discouraged from reading the Bible lately because “it just seems like so much work.” When I thought deeper about that rationale/excuse, I realized that I’ve been approaching time in the Word as a means to transformation, instead of simply time with God – and when I don’t feel like I have the energy to study deeply or really focus, I write it off completely, opting for a book or nap instead. 

But Jesus made God as accessible as He possibly could, so whenever connecting with God seems hard, I know I’m missing something. I think that “something” is captured in this quote that I loved from Soul Craving by Joel Warne:

“There are times, though, when transformation simply doesn’t come, times when our hunger for a new way to be remains unfed. At those times… simply rest with God in your problem. Simply be with him in your sin, your emptiness, your failure. Rest quietly with him in your confusion, your paralysis. Sit next to him in the wound that won’t heal, the pain that won’t subside, the desert that never ends… Here the still center of your love affair with Jesus Christ rests steady, unmoved, unquenched, unconquered by your unresolved messes. Here your love for God really does take precedence. It is no longer a means to an end, a kind of convenient tool to work your own liberation…

 

Sometimes, our very desire to be transformed into the new creation God wants us to be must be considered rubbish in comparison with simply knowing Christ. Is it enough for you to simply love him? To draw close to him, to offer him your affection? If intimately abiding with Jesus produced no change at all within you, could you be satisfied to simply remain with him in all your painful, unresolved stuff?” (199-201).

Worth Repeating {8/19/14}

19 Aug

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One of the most influential books in my life has been Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It was while reading her book that my eyes were opened to the immense ingratitude in my own life, and I started to learn that true joy comes through accepting.

It is a daily lesson, as my first reaction to situations or circumstances that I don’t like is to reject them. And as I sit with those emotions of anger and frustration — knowing that if I just accepted what God was allowing, I would find joy — I am reminded of these apt words from One Thousand Gifts:

“In this wilderness, I keep circling back to this: I’m blind to joy’s well every time I really don’t want it. The well is always there. And I choose not to see it. Don’t I really want joy? Don’t I really want the fullest life? For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy–is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle? Ah–power–like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? Isn’t that the only reason I don’t always swill the joy? If the startling truth is that I don’t really want joy, there’s a far worse truth. If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment–am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care? That God cares enough about me to always offer joy’s water, wherever I am, regardless of circumstance…

The well is always here. God is always here–precisely because He does care.

A Word on Moderation in Food Fads

13 Aug

These days, it seems like eating healthy is no longer just as simple as eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. It’s not even as simple as choosing organic. It’s about food that is “sustainably raised”, “raw”, “sprouted”, “free range” and “unpasteurized”. There are supplements like wheat grass and hempseed, drinks like kombucha, and companies like Advocare that have 200 “nutrition” products that will make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s enough to cause a nervous breakdown for someone like me who wants to eat healthy but also doesn’t want to 1) Eat a bunch of foods I’ve never heard of before 2) Stop eating the foods I like and 3) Spend a bajillion dollars doing it. 

It may just be my strong dislike of anything even remotely resembling a bandwagon, but a lot of the food fads going around right now seem like just that – fads. They’ll be replaced by something else in 6 months and in 12 months, they’ll discover that they were wrong, and that food is actually bad for you. 

I’d be fine to just eat my dirty grapes and pasteurized cheese in silence and let the food-trend mayhem occur without my interference, except for one thing. The peddlers of the food-trend mayhem will not accept passivity. You’re either with them, or against them. You’re either eating healthy (like them), or feeding yourself and your family pure poison. It’s amazing we haven’t all died already.

Here’s what I propose: Go ahead and talk about the health benefits of whatever new thing you’re into. But don’t trash everything else that people have been eating for decades as absolutely horrible for you and wonder why anyone would eat that. You know why “we” eat that? Because we don’t want to spend $10 on 1 oz of cheese. Because I’d rather take my chances with non-organic grapes than not be able to afford them at all. Because I don’t want to spend 50% of my income on food. 

My angry tirade is actually a cover for feeling insecure and overwhelmed at thinking that I’m feeding my family crap by letting them eat regular whole wheat bread (NOT sprouted grain or ezekiel bread!!!) and Kemps milk and coffee creamer (not from a local farm!!!). Oh and I buy Foster Farms or Gold ‘n’ Plump chicken – we’re all going to DIE!!!!

Obviously, I exaggerate. But after reading some of the blogs and articles I do about healthy eating, that’s seriously how I feel. 

BUT IS IT TRUE?!?!?!

That’s the question I always come back to. Is all of this true? It’s really hard to know what to believe when many of the supposed “sources” of these “facts” are quite obviously writing from a huge bias. They are writing about what they themselves eat, and of course, it’s the best thing since juicing. And then there’s the fact that even medical professionals don’t always agree on this stuff.

Bringing faith into the picture, I know that if I tried to start eating all of the fads, it would be a reaction out of fear and not faith. It’s like with the Christian life – sure, you can serve in the Children’s Ministry at church, sing on the worship team, have people over for dinner every night, host a missionary family, volunteer at the local food shelter, and knit afghans for the pregnancy center. But are you called to? Just because other people are doing 1 or more of those things, does that mean you should do them all? No, it doesn’t. God leads everyone to do with their life what He calls them to do.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)

I believe that God has called me to a live of moderation. And that applies to what I eat. It may be that in time, I’ll come around to see that some of the foods that are trendy right now really are valuable, and start incorporating them into my diet. It may be that I’ll start buying more organic produce. But it’s just as likely that I’ll continue in my moderately healthy ways and buy traditional foods, like all-purpose flour and Wheat Thins. 

Because while I do believe that our bodies are gifts from God and we are called to be good stewards of them, for me it ends up being unhealthy in other ways to spend more time than I currently am thinking about what I’m eating. When I concentrate on it so much, it becomes an idol. And Jesus did say, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23) I’ve finally gotten back to my pre-pregnancy eating habits (and weight) and I’m feeling good. 

I would be amiss, however, to not mention that God has created some people to truly, deeply and passionately care about what they eat. And I do believe that you can be passionate about food without it being an idol. I just ask that they be passionate without condemning the choices of the rest of us. 😉

Worth Repeating {8/12/14}

11 Aug

This is a weekly series where I share quotes, sayings and verses that I enjoyed and found to be worth repeating.worth_repeating

Travis was looking for a book to read on his work trip yesterday and I came across a book I never finished but had enjoyed immensely called “He Leadeth Me” by Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. Walter was captured by the Russians during World War II and held prisoner as a “Vatican spy” for 23 years. Here is one thing he learned:

“The simple soul who each day makes a morning offering of ‘all the prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day’–and who then acts upon it by accepting unquestioningly and responding lovingly to all the situations of the day as truly sent by God–has perceived with an almost childlike faith the profound truth about the will of God. To predict what God’s will is going to be, to rationalize about what his will must be, is at once a work of human folly and yet the subtlest of all temptations. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. The trick is to learn to see that–not just in theory, or not just occasionally in a flash of insight granted by God’s grace, but every day.  …

The temptation is to overlook these things, precisely because they are so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine, and to seek to discover instead some other and nobler ‘will of God’ in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be.  …

…To labor day in and day out to make [this] the sole principle by which our every action is guided and toward which we aim, is to come to know at last true joy and peace of heart, secure in the knowledge we are attempting always and in everything to do God’s will…” (39-40).

Emma Grace: 16 Months

9 Aug

We’ve had a very fun month! 

We went down to my parents’ cabin for a day and enjoyed the lake (and the kiddie pool, since they don’t really have a beach).

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We went to the Safari North zoo in Brainerd, where we fed farm animals and parakeets. We saw turkeys, grizzly bears, giraffes, deer, monkeys — all kinds of animals! After some stroller time, Emma enjoyed walking around on her own (no pictures because we were keeping track of her!)

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We also went to the Antique Tractor Show in Park Rapids. Emma liked sitting on the tractor and trying to play with all the knobs and levers. There was also a small petting zoo there and she liked seeing the animals more than she ever has.

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We’ve had a couple of playdates with my good friend from college and her daughter, and another couple with people we’ve met in Brainerd. Emma and I also went to our first MOPS meetup last Monday, which was really great. The ladies were super welcoming and friendly, and I think we’ll enjoy getting to know that group. Emma was the youngest (seems like she always is!) but that’s ok. I’m looking forward to when Emma can play on a playground more independently though.

Emma is officially down to one nap a day except for the rare day she wakes up early and needs 2. She usually goes to bed at 6:30 and wakes up around 6:15/6:30. She takes her one nap at 11 am and usually wakes up between 12:30 and 1. 

With the 3 new teeth that she got this month, Emma now has all of her teeth (minus her 2-year molars)! Happy to be almost done with that stage. 

Most days, Emma only drinks one bottle right before bed. She gets milk in a sippy cup for breakfast and a morning snack before her nap. Every once in a while, I’ll crack and give her a bottle during the day, but the transition has gone pretty well for the most part. I think I was holding on to it more than she was! I’m hoping to wean her off the nighttime bottle by 18 months.

Emma still loves fruit, most notably grapes, clementines and peaches. She still doesn’t like meat and likes only a handful of vegetables. She will eat stirfry veggies so we eat stirfry fairly often. She also loves pizza, and I’ve started making dough from scratch, so we eat pizza a lot too. And she loves green smoothies.

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Emma still doesn’t have any words. There are times when it seems like she definitely understands what we’re saying (like if I ask her to put a toy in a bin and she does), but there are other times when it seems like she doesn’t have a clue (like if I ask her to do patty cake and she does peekaboo, or nothing at all). She still doesn’t like books at all, except for chewing on and occasionally paging through.

I think she got her daddy’s engineering brain because she LOVES figuring out how things work, and is extremely detail-oriented. She has learned how to screw and unscrew water bottle caps, turn lights and fans on and off, unplug power cords (not something we want her to know!), open fingernail clippers, and replace the bathtub drain stopper. She also knows that the dog leashes get hooked to the dogs’ collars, and that socks and shoes go on her feet.

Things Emma enjoys:

  • Playing with rocks, and carrying them around in various containers
  • Playing in water with cups (and using them to drink it!)
  • Moving things from here to there, and back again – especially towels, tupperware and office supplies
  • Emptying wallets
  • Hugs and kisses – I love it!!
  • The dogs – she absolutely LOVES Katy and will try to cuddle with her all the time 
  • Climbing onto our couches via her Baby Einstein table
  • Being outside

20140724_184435 (Large)Emma is still in her rear-facing infant carseat but we are going to make the switch in the next week or two. I had said that I was going to wait until she started walking, and then it just seemed so sad to give up the ability to bring her into the house while sleeping. But I think she’ll enjoy being in the car more when she’s facing forward. I don’t know – I keep waffling. We’ll see if/when I get ambitious.

I also got some really good deals on toddler stuff at garage sales this month. I bought a little outdoor slide, a small table with 2 chairs, a potty, a toddler bed, a kitchen playset (sans food) and a Little Tikes trike for a grand total of $15. LOVE finding good deals! 

Well, that’s about it for this month!

Worth Repeating {8/5/14}

4 Aug

Over the life of this blog, I have gone through seasons of inspiration and seasons of silence. Obviously, for the past several months, silence has been trumping inspiration. Since my own original content is lacking, I thought I’d start a weekly series sharing quotes, verses and passages that I have enjoyed, been thinking of, or came across in the previous week. 

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For the inaugural post, I thought I’d share a favorite passage from John Piper’s book God Is the Gospel, which I’ve been re-reading recently after first reading it my senior year of college. Man, I had forgotten how deep and complex Piper’s books are! 

“…All the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven–none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him.” (47)

Hope you enjoy this new series!