Thursday, July 24, 2014

#TBT: Cast Iron Skillet

Throw back to before I made friends with the cast iron skillet here. Five years ago, I would have never believed that I would love using it all the time. I’ve learned the secret is to use a much lower temp than you would with a normal pan, and to let it preheat for a loooooong time. I’m still working out how to clean/season it, though.

Me too… but God

I wrote here about mommy solidarity posts. The ones that share how hard it is and how much we fail and end with encouraging each other to “hang in there.” Up until a few weeks ago, I was all about those posts. I was liking them on Facebook and commenting that is was nice to know I wasn’t the only one. I would have looked at the tired mom of a screaming newborn and said, “It’s gets better. You’ll outgrow the nasty hormones and she’ll outgrow the gas and reflux. She’ll start to crawl and eat cheerios and she’ll get happier. It gets better.”

It does get better, but now I want to find a way to say, “But you can get better before it gets better.” When James 1 says to have joy in trials, it doesn’t give exceptions. (Though wouldn’t I love to make hormones one. “Count it all joy… except for about four days a month when you can just lose it.”) “We think a change of scenery will fix the problem… We think the answer is a new environment when the real answer is a new me.” (James MacDonald, When Life Is Hard)

A few months ago I was in a store by myself and heard a baby crying. My jaw clenched and my shoulders tightened and I felt completely beat down. A few weeks ago I was grocery shopping with the girls. When we got to the cashier, she looked at Emily and said, “Oh it’s you that’s been making all that noise.” I stared at her for a second, because I hadn’t even been conscious of the fact that Emily had been so loud. For some reason, on that day, I was confidant in the fact that I had done everything I could for her, and if she wanted to be mad I wasn’t going to be stressed about it.

It took me six months to get to the second story, and it was still a rare occurrence. How can I say to other moms that we should be able to “count it all joy” when I’ve spent so much time deep in baby blues?

I was thinking about all of this in the car this morning, and then it happened. I got tested, and God miraculously helped me pass.

It had been a rough morning. The baby had been crying from the moment she woke up, and the toddler didn’t want to wake up and then didn’t want to use the potty. I was very tempted to just let us sit in our misery, and I was proud of myself for having the courage to go ahead to our planned outing.

And then. Toddler desperately needed to use the potty, didn’t want to go in her diaper, didn’t want to go on the big potty, and didn’t want to leave the fun activity. And completely lost her mind. It was the fit of all fits, the worst one ever. In the middle of a very public place, I had tried in vain to calm her down, to strap her in the stroller or to carry her with one arm and push the stroller with the other. So I sat on the floor with her in a bear hug and felt my eyes begin to burn and my natural cycle begin. That would be to cry until we got home, dump her in bed, call the whole day ruined, and crash with some junk food and TV because “it’s just been too rough.” And then a lightening bolt from heaven told me that the only thing I could control right now was myself. So I held it together. Somehow I got her to the car and strapped in her seat, and by the time we got home she was cheerfully talking about the birds. And I could talk cheerfully, too, because I hadn’t let my emotions take over. I did crash on the couch with an ice pack, because wrestling 29lbs of crazy isn’t the best thing for your back, but then they took amazing naps and I got a lot done. And when Josh texted to ask how it was going, I was able to say “not so great but I’m handling it well.”

Some of you relate to this, and some of you don’t, but I have never displayed that much control over my emotions before. Which means I didn’t do it.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God immediately gave me an answer to the questions I had in the car, which is just incredible. In all my weakness, I can still share the truth with you. Because I am not boasting about my power, but His.

So mommies, we have got to let God help us find joy through the hormones and blessing through the screaming. PLEASE God, continue to shock me with Your power in my life! I most definitely do not want this to be a one time deal!

“Whatever you are facing…your situation is your opportunity to shine the light of Christ to those who observe you. You can display the superiority of a life lived in God. Realizing that reality and embracing it with your whole heart allows first a sprinkling of joy…and then a stream and finally a downpour to flood your soul. But you can’t come to that conclusion coping on your own. You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your face with food to dull your pain. [ouch] You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your mind with entertainment to dull that pain. [ouch] You can’t consider it joy when you’re filling your heart with anger to dull that pain. And you can’t come to the joyful conclusion when you’re filling your body with substance to dull that pain. Only by considering why you are here, and what life is really about and where you will be going very soon can you consider your trial joy.” (James MacDonald, When Life Is Hard)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vegan Taco Salad

This was the first time I attempted to make taco salad without using any dairy, and it was really pretty good! Avocados are awesome. Too bad they’re so stinkin’ expensive! Recipe here.

IMG_8073

Sunday, July 20, 2014

truth seeker

I’ve been noticing that the name “truth-teller” is becoming a catch phrase. Well I am a truth-seeker. It is probably the strongest fire in me that I have no real explanation for. And so many times I feel like it’s a burden.

Because it leads me to be an annoying person. To sit in the front of Bible class and raise my hand too many times because I get that excited to learn. To ask you 100 questions about why you do what you do because I want to understand it, without realizing that you feel like I’m beating you up. To give a friend cold truth when she came to me for affirmation. To wake Josh up at 11pm with questions like, “If I truly loved God completely, would that solve all the other problems in my life?” To doubt every statement that’s not connected to specific chapter and verse. To have to bite my tongue every time someone makes a statement that makes Satan sound omnipresent or makes Jesus sound like your bff.

Why can’t I be the person who loves easily? Everyone likes that person. But I’m coming to realize that my passion for truth is maybe my part of the body of Christ. That I can be the left hand of truth-seeking to the right hand of someone loves easily. I know I have much to learn from them, and instead of seeing myself as a burden, maybe I can see opportunities to encourage and push them, too.

I recently received some reading material from a large Christian organization that has had me pacing the floor in concern for myself, my friends, and particularly the women of our generation. Because I see us being drawn to speakers and writers who are oozing with love, but not a lot of scripture. People who are doing good, but only preaching the most basic gospel. I am afraid that we are emphasizing love and work so much that we are skipping over truth and righteousness. If we are trying to love and work without filling ourselves up with truth, we are making ourselves vulnerable.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

For example. Blog posts in the name of solidarity. Especially the mom ones. The ones that tell you that it’s ok that you had a hard time liking your kids today, or that you never remember to sign their reading sheets, or that you just need a break from them, because – me, too. It is important to encourage and support each other….towards godliness.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness (1 Timothy 4:6-7)

I am completely preaching to myself right now, because I got very convicted on this topic after watching a 19 Kids and Counting marathon. Yes, I will give you a second to laugh. But I don’t think I had noticed before that Mama Duggar can hardly speak without quoting scripture. Yes, it’s TV, and reality TV is not really real. But there’s something to learn from her. I also read the book written by the four oldest girls. It’s not a super well written book or anything, but it is a great testament to their parents. So many times when they explained why they do what they do, they said “Well Mama and Daddy searched the Bible…”, from their appearance to how they handle tattling. You might interpret verses differently than them, but I am so inspired by their desire to really live their lives by the Word.

While we are encouraging each other, it is easy to get stuck in sharing our struggles and saying “you’re doing your best” without ever moving on to “how can we do better.” There’s the mommy blogger who makes me feel better about myself because she shares my feelings and even has some ‘worse’ ones. Then there’s Mama Duggar who tempts me to feel bad about myself with her joy and peace and statements that always end in “children are a blessing.” But who is speaking truth? The one that’s basing her attitude and actions on scripture is a good bet. While I should not compare myself to Mama Duggar or feel bad about myself (Galatians 6:4-5), I can strive to be like her. We can still say “I struggle with that, too”, but instead of saying “it’s ok, this will pass/it’s just a season/you’re doing your best”, how about saying “let’s find a way to be better with God’s help.”

I have gone all over the place with this post, but this is all a lead in for the best part. All of this is what’s been keeping me up at night the last few weeks: can I defend ALL my choices with scripture? is my love for truth a burden? is my generation devaluing truth? what is my responsibility in speaking the truth?

So that explains why when I opened our bulletin today and saw the sermon was titled “Knowing and Doing the Truth”, I punched Josh in the arm. Because I knew it. I knew our pastor would give guidance and order to these things that have been swirling around in my head. I still have a lot of questions about what my responsibility is in defending the truth, but I was so encouraged and fired up today. I put my sermon notes in a separate post so that they’re not confused with my own thoughts. Please read them here and be convicted to be passionate about God’s truth.

Sunday notes

Today our pastor preached on Knowing and Doing the Truth. Read why this sermon was so meaningful to me here.

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Why do men distort the Word?

It is easier to attract flies with honey.

attract flies

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)

The church is not for the attracting of people, but for the equipping of the saints. The purpose of the church is not to attract anything, it is to preach the truth.

How do men distort the Word?

Proclaim truths about God without reference to scripture. [this is huge people! I need to consider this with everything I read and listen to]

Argue from silence. “It’s right because Jesus didn’t say it wasn’t.”

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

Create their own God. These statements, made without reference to scripture, would be red flags: “MY God wouldn’t/would…” or “Well I believe…”

Conclusion

truth to be found

The way you can keep from being lured in is to study the truth.

When I look back on my past notes, I believe our pastor is not-so-subtly shouting at us to STUDY THE BIBLE. You can listen to/watch sermons here, but they sometimes take a few weeks to post. One of my favorites, that I did not post notes on, was Kindness and Truth from June 8.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

#TBT: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Perfect TBT on my birthday. Throw back to before I bought frosting tips and learned that store bought frosting is gross - here.

.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7 months

IMG_8092b

Emily is 7 months old! I forgot to write down her stats at her 6 month appointment, but she was 18 some pounds. She is in some 6m and some 9m clothes and wears a #3 diaper. She has two teeth.

IMG_8281

Her favorite things are balls, paper, playing with Kylie, peek-a-boo, being “thrown” in the air, blankets and Cheerios.

IMG_8154

Her least favorite things are being confined, diaper changes, and green beans.

IMG_2142IMG_2013

She army crawls and can pretty much get herself in a sitting position, but doesn’t sit unsupported. She’s just doing things a little backward! She gets up on all fours and rocks, but hasn’t tried to move a hand yet.

IMG_2140   IMG_2168   IMG_2172

She chews on her finger if she has a blanket and is tired, but she doesn’t really do it to self-soothe without the blanket. (And it is just now occurring to me that I need to try giving her the blanket in the car!) She stopped spitting up out of nowhere, but she still coughs and arches her back a lot.

IMG_8277

It’s funny to go back and read about Kylie at this age because they are soo different! But I wrote that Kylie also loved paper and Beaker. And neither of them are fond of baby food. I forgot that I already knew at this age that Kylie was easily overwhelmed. I can’t picture Emily being overwhelmed. This toy is the perfect example. Kylie was nervous about it until she was at least a year old. It’s Emily’s favorite. Emily’s also not afraid of loud appliances or big groups of people.

IMG_7904

Emily is so much happier now that she can crawl. She’ll also often sit herself up on one hand to play. She follows Kylie around all day and obviously misses her when she’s sleeping (most days Kylie sleeps more hours than Emily).

IMG_1449IMG_1540IMG_1586IMG_2054IMG_2175IMG_1698IMG_2190

Emily laughs easily and cries easily and I think she’s going to be fun. She and Kylie will balance each other well. Today we hadn’t realized that Emily had crawled to our under-construction bathroom until we heard Kylie saying, “No, no, baby, it’s too shark [sharp].” However, Kylie was inching toward the bathroom herself, obviously jealous that baby was testing the boundaries.

IMG_8278

Much like Kylie, Emily does not prefer me over Josh, but gets separation anxiety with strangers. However, we’ve only been called to the church nursery once, and they’re still able to get her to fall asleep every week!

IMG_1461

We still can’t get on a schedule. And now I’m quite sure it’s a hunger/reflux problem because it’s so much like Kylie at this age. They need more than formula in their bellies but they just don’t like purees. Emily loves Cheerios, but she still gags on them once in a while, so I haven’t done whole peas or anything like that yet. So she has 4-5 bottles of 4-8oz and takes 2-3 naps a day. Most days she will take one good 1.5-2 hour nap, which is great progress.

IMG_8204

And one more skill I forgot to mention – she can hold her own bottle. But she doesn’t like to and prefers to cuddle and kick me (opposite of Kylie). I’ve only made her do it twice when we were at the science center.

                          IMG_1703   IMG_1796

I think my favorite thing about Emily is that she has one of those faces that really lights up when she smiles. I love people like that.

Untitled-4 copy

 

Untitled-3 copy

 

Untitled-2